A positive perspective on electric vehicles

Because we recently ran a story that was highly critical of electric cars, here’s a positive story for balance. – Anthony

Guest essay by Jan Kjetil Andersen, Jkandersen.no Csens.org

I want to share some thoughts and experiences about using electric vehicles (EV) and how they compare to traditional internal combustion engines (ICE).

My personal experience is based on being a user of Nissan Leaf in my daily commute for the last four years. We do also have two ordinary cars in the family, but what we see is that the EV is the car everyone chooses first. The reason is obvious; it is simply a much better car to drive. The noiseless engine let you hear the wind blowing and the birds singing, or you can turn on music and hear it without any disturbing engine in the background. The gearless drivetrain gives a unique smoothness, and the acceleration is just superb.

My experience so far have made me to be an enthusiastic EV supporter, not because I think I save the planet, but because I find the EV much more enjoyable to drive.

With that as a prologue, let us take a look on the more theoretical and technical constraints of electric versus fossil fueled cars.

Efficiency of combustion engines – theoretical limits

Efficiency is the relationship between the total energy contained in the fuel, and the amount of energy used to perform useful work.

Let us first analyze the theoretical limits given by the physical laws for an “ideal” frictionless engine.

The most fundamental limit of efficiency for a combustion engine is given by Carnot’s Theorem which states that:

The Maximum Efficiency = (T2-T1)/T2

Where

T2 = The maximum temperature in the process in Kelvin

T1 = The minimum temperature in the process in Kelvin

If for instance the minimum temperature is 300K (27 Celsius), and the maximum is 1200 K (927 C), the maximum theoretical efficiency is (1200 – 300)/1200 = 900/1200 = 75%

The main point to take from this is that the maximum theoretical efficiency is substantially below 100%, even if the machine is without any friction.

But even though all gasoline and diesel engines are covered by the general Carnot process, they are far from a Carnot processes. We come one step closer to reality by looking at the theoretical upper limit for Otto cycles and diesel cycles for gasoline and diesel engines respectively. The theoretical efficiencies of an Otto cycle, diesel cycle or any other thermal cycle can never beat the Carnot cycle, but they set an upper limit for those engines.

The maximum efficiency of an Otto engine is given by the compression ratio, the higher compression the higher efficiency. However, the compression ratio of Otto cycle engines is limited by the need to prevent the uncontrolled combustion known as knocking. Modern engines have compression ratios in the range 8 to 11, resulting in theoretical ideal cycle efficiencies of 56% to 61%.

The Diesel cycle is less efficient than the Otto cycle when using the same compression ratio, but this is more than compensated by the higher compression ratio. Diesel engines therefore have slightly higher efficiency than gasoline engines.

Efficiency of combustion engines – in practice

Real engines are obviously not ideal. The actual cycle of a four-stroke gasoline engine is very different from the idealized Otto cycle. In addition, there are of course frictions in all moving parts which results in truly existing engine efficiency in the range of 25% – 30% in ordinary gasoline automobiles.

In addition to that, there are losses in the drivetrain between engine and wheels, resulting in actual power to the wheels efficiency of only 18% – 25%.

So how does this compare to the efficiency in an EV?

Well first of all, there is no theoretical upper limit for efficiency like the Carnot theorem for EV. A frictionless electric engine has a theoretical efficiency of 100%.

In practice we see that there are losses in charging batteries, using batteries and friction in the electric drivetrain, but the actual power to the wheels is here about 82 percent, i.e. several times better than an ICE.

image

The figure above show development in the efficiency for steam, gasoline and electric engines. James Watt revolutionized the steam engine by improving the efficiency from Newcomen’s puny 0.5% to 3%. Later triple expansion engines reached about 10% efficiency. Nicolas Otto’s petroleum motor had 12% efficiency, and the Spague electric motor had about 70% efficiency.

The superior efficiency of electric motors is also illustrated by the fact that it makes sense for diesel electric railway locomotives to use an electric generator combined with an electric motor as a replacement for a mechanical transmission.

The Battery vs the gasoline tank

The electric automobile engine is in my opinion superior to the combustion engine. In low and moderate speeds, you get the noiselessness and smoothness of a luxury car, the acceleration of a sports car and the energy use of a moped. That combination is unbeatable by any single fossil fueled car.

However, when the features of energy storage in a battery is compared to a gasoline tank there is no doubt that the battery is far inferior.

The battery in my Nissan Leaf has a capacity of 24 KWh, which is equivalent to 2.6 liters (0.7 US Gallons) of gasoline.

Imaging having a car with 0.7 gallons gasoline tank, which it takes 8 hours to fill at home, or 25 minutes on a supercharger, would you, buy it?

Well I have, and I must say that in spite of the low range, I am overall very satisfied with it.

Due to the good energy economy, it has a driving range from 140 km with modest speed in the summer to about 80 km in the coldest winter months. Those ranges may seem puny, but in my experience, it covers the vast majority of most people’s driving needs.

Battery development

The prices of Li-ion batteries have dropped considerably recent years and the drop is projected to continue. How fast the prices drop can be debated, but approximately 14% annually, as is described in this article, is a conservative bet.

Fourteen percent drop each year translates to halving the prices in five years. This development can be seen on the new generation EV now brought to the market. The prices have not halved, but the battery size and range have approximately doubled compared to the ones we saw five years ago.

Tesla is leading the range contest with 500 km (310 mile) range and a supercharging rate of 270 km (170 miles) in 30 minutes. With those figures, the range and filling time properties starts to close in on fossil fueled cars.

In practice no more time on filling station than for a gasoline car.

Personally, I do not use more time on supercharger stations than I used to use on gasoline stations. The reason is that I charge at home, and do not use supercharges station more than approximately 10 times per year. I may stay there 20 minutes each time, which amounts to 200 minutes annually. A petrol car with the same driving distance would have to be filled about 50 times per year, which would have taken about the same time in total when the stop, opening tank, payment et cetera is included.

Toque and rotational speed

Torque is a measure of the turning force on an object such as a bolt or a crankshaft. It is important to understand this unit to get a grip of a fundamental benefit of the EV, so let us examine it a bit.

Torque is measured internationally in Newton*meter. As an example to illustrate the amplitude of the unit; you should use about 100 Nm on each bolt if you want to fasten your wheels on your car.

The conversion factor between torque and power delivered is that power in watt equals torque multiplied by rotations per second multiplied by two Pi:

P = T * R*2*Pi

The reason it has to be like this, is that Watt is just Nm per second and the perimeter of the circle with on meter radius is 2 Pi as seen on the figure below.

image

Figure: If you push a handle of 1 meter one rotation in one second you deliver a power in Watt of 2 Pi times the torque.

If the crankshaft for example has a rotation speed of 10 rotations per second and 100Nm torque is applied, the power delivered is 6.26 Kilowatt (KW). The same torque applied at 100 rotations per second thus gives 62.8 KWFigure: If you push a handle of 1 meter one rotation in one second you deliver a power in Watt of 2 Pi times the torque.

The rotation speed given by tachometers in automobiles usually show rotations per minute (RPM), not per second, so I will continue with the most common form here.

image

Figure, the tachometer in an ordinary petrol vehicle. Here showing 2000 RPM on a scale going to 7000RPM.

The reason we are interested in torque is that it gives valuable information about the engine behavior with different rotational speeds. A typical plot for petrol and electric automobile engines is shown in the figure below.

image

Figure. Typical torque/RPM diagrams for traditional gasoline engine, modern electronically regulated gasoline engine and electric vehicles.

Gasoline engines have a useful rotation range approximately between and 1500 to 6000 RPM. However, in ordinary smooth driving you want to stay between 2000 and 3000 RPM.

The electronics in modern cars modern cars usually cap the torque to an upper fixed value, which is seen as a flat torque curve. There are two advantages with this. The first is that the drive chain must be scaled to handle the maximum toque, and it is uneconomical to have those dimensions just for a narrow peak range.

The second is that a flat toque curve feels smoother because, as long as the air resistance is negligible, constant toque gives constant acceleration. The G-force you feel against the seat is therefore constant, and that feels better than a varying acceleration.

The torque delivered by an EV is high and even from zero to about 4000 RPM, and thereafter slowly decreases. An EV operate over a very broad rotation spectrum. This eliminates the need for a gearbox.

You can do without shifting gears on a gasoline car too, just put it in second gear, start with some careful clutching and you may accelerate up to motorway velocity and stay there without using any other gears. The tachometer will then show around 6000 RPM. It is of course not recommendable to drive like that since it may damage the engine. You will also use extra petrol and it gives a lot of vibrations and noise.

Nevertheless, this demonstrates one aspect of the difference between ICE and EV; an EV has no engine noise even at 12 000 RPM.

The torque curve and wide rotational spectrum show that an EV has some features that is just better than what you find on a similar ICE.

Comparison

The table below gives a side by side overview of EV vs ICE features

Combustion vehicles Electrical Vehicles Plus / minus for EV
Engine Noise Varying None +
Acceleration Varying Excellent +
Gearing Varying No gearing +
Energy economy 7 – 8 L/100 km

(35-40 Mpg)

Approximately: 2 KWh /100 Km = 2,0 L /100 km

( 120 mpg)

++
Engine Oil Change every 10 000 km No oil +
Transmission oil Change very 100 000 km No transmission oil +
Brakes Tear out after approximately 100 000 km Almost never tear out because of regenerative braking is used instead of brakes +
Driveline complexity (increase cost) Complex, hundreds of moving parts Small, few parts, very few moving parts +
Engine durability Good Good equal
Energy storage Gasoline tank Li-ion battery with 5 – 8 years warranty

Replacing battery may cost 10 000 – 20 000 USD

(but battery prices are falling)

Range Approximately 700 km Up to 500 km
Fill up time station 2 minutes 30 – 60 minutes
Availability of gas/supercharging stations Good Sparse, but improving
Option to fill up at home In practice: no. Yes, but slow ++
Total economy Depends on oil prices Improving as battery prices continue to drop In transition from minus to plus?

There is a large uncertainty concerning the total economy because of the yet unknown lifetime of the battery.

The warranty for most EVs batteries today is that there shall be at least 70% capacity left after 8 years or 160 000 km (100 000 miles). This guarantee may not seem very assuring since a modern car of good quality should at least last twice as long as that. That means that the owner run a substantial risk of having to replace the battery at least one time in the car’s lifetime.

The battery pack is the most expensive item in an electric vehicle. The current cost is approximately 300 USD/KWh which gives a price of USD 22 500 for a car with 75 KWh battery. If the prices continue to drop by 14 % annually, the price will be USD 6732 eight years from now, still a considerate amount, but at least it is more acceptable than the current price.

My experience there is that after four years and 91 000 km, I see no performance drop at all. I use my daily commute as a benchmark, and on days with mild temperatures, I have always used exactly 20% battery capacity on 29 km.

Conclusion

The EV driving experience is superb, but the range and recharging time is still inferior compared to traditional cars.

However, the technology is now evolving quicker for EV than for traditional cars and the battery prices are cut in half every fifth year.

Many different sources all forecast that the market share of EV will grow from the current 0.2 percent. BP forecast a slow growth up to six percent market share in 2035, while Bloomberg new energy forecast that EV will outsell ICE in 2038.

Personally, I think the evolution will go even quicker. The much better energy efficiency and torque curves are revolutionary improvements which are impossible to match for any ICE. The EV will soon have both better total economy and better driving performance than any ICE, and most people will then buy the best and most economical vehicle. My bet is that EV will outsell ICE before the year 2030.

I do recommend them now in 2018, may be not yet for the economy, but definitely for the driving experience.

 

 


References:

1. Fuel economy: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/atv.shtml

2. Nature: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n4/full/nclimate2564.html?foxtrotcallback=true

3. Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-06/the-electric-car-revolution-is-accelerating

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michael hart

One quibble: Option to fill up at home. You can store small amounts of fuel in containers to keep at home or, more importantly, in the car itself.
The latter speaks to one point not covered: emergencies when you run out of fuel completely. In the ICE not only can you fix the problem yourself, but a passing motorist could also help you, especially in a remote location. In an electric vehicle, if you run out of fuel on the road then you are in more serious trouble.

John V. Wright

Hi Michael – This is one of the reasons why we bought a plug-in hybrid vehicle. It is very comforting to know that the petrol engine is there alongside the electric engine should you need it. Also, the regenerative braking puts miles back into the battery when you are going downhill or slowing the car for any reason. You can actually see the miles going back into the battery on the display. I can highly recommend plug-in hybrids. In the UK, you are also provided with a charging point at home (it used to be FOC, don’t know if it still is). Of course, you need off-street parking for this to be an option.

renowebb

FOC i don’t think so , tax payers pay my friend.

Trebla

I think this is an excellent article. We skeptics are not against electric vehicles, it’s just the cost factor, the range anxiety and the charging time that are the real problems. Here in Quebec, the government offers an $8,000 incentive to help with the purchase of an e-car. Added to that, the city of Laval just announced that it would add another $2,000 for residents (if I were a resident, I’d be up in arms about that one). Notwithstanding the fact that we have cheap, abundant hydro power in “la belle province”, (about 9 cents Canadian per marginal KWH), plus a $10,000 “bribe” to boot, and e-car owners don’t pay their share of road taxes, electric car sales are still minuscule. That’s got to tell you something.

Man Bearpig

I agree, filling up at home is a mute point. There are filling stations in almost every town and having a small can of fuel can act as an emergency supply if you get stuck somewhere. what happens in an EV? You have get towed.

Lee L

Well… you COULD imagine an EV system where you can carry a spare ‘can’ of charge for emergency which could be swapped in to get you to the next charging outlet.
It isn’t how they build them right now, but it could be done. Or..your autoclub will carry a quick boost to get you going a short distance maybe.

OweninGA

You could carry a trunk (boot) load of solar cells that you stretch out on top of the car and along the shoulder (verge) if you run out during a sunny day. Three days later you could have enough electrons to get to a charge station.

Alan Tomalty

I live in a large apartment complex where the outdoor parking has only standard plugs available useless for charging electric vehicles. Therefore if i bought an electric car i always would have to go to a charging station which will take a lot longer than filling up with gasoline.

Chris

“I agree, filling up at home is a mute point. There are filling stations in almost every town and having a small can of fuel can act as an emergency supply if you get stuck somewhere. what happens in an EV? You have get towed.”
The operative phrase is “if you get stuck somewhere”. There is a thing called capitalism. Restaurants, gas stations and malls are starting to offer, and will increasingly offer, charging points – as a way to attract customers. If I’m driving into a town in an EV and need a charge, I’ll go to the establishment that offers charging. And that’s where I’ll spend my money on a meal, or a coffee, or some items to buy. Same at night for hotels.
The exact same arguments were used in the early days of the automobile – don’t buy one because you’ll run out of gas somewhere and need a tow! That one worked out ok.

Serge Wright

You could always tow a trailor carrying a large portable generator and fuel tank. It might even be possible to run the genny while driving to keep the battery topped up 😉

higley7

I see the author did not include the efficiency of the method used to produce the electricity in home charging. This needs to be considered to be a valid comparison.

OweninGA

That was my thought. The EV is actually coal powered in most jurisdictions, though some are nuclear or natural gas powered as well. So we have to start with the efficiency level of the power plant, the grid losses to the charging station, the conversion losses from mains power to charging power, and finally the charging losses to the battery itself.
Or to be fair I could just start at the conversion losses as I didn’t include the refinery/pipeline/delivery losses on the ICE side. The actual resource to use equations would really have to be thoroughly mapped for apples to apples comparisons.

Amen. And when you compare the efficiency from power plant to wheels, the EV and ICE aren’t that much different. I have a personal problem with poor people subsidizing electric cars, roads and manufacturers so virtue-signaling rich people can run around in Teslas and other luxury EVs. Additionally, as is often pointed out by detractors, the majority of EVs are powered by coal or fossil fuel. The EV advocates seem to think renewable fairy dust provides the power at the charging outlet.
As for “silent” EVs or vehicles of any kind, where I drive tire noise predominates once you’re up to speed. My home overlooks a 4-lane divided asphalt city road with a 45-mph speed limit, and you can barely hear yourself looking down from our patio. It’s the tires, not the engines!

As the author lives in Norway, electricity there is 99% hydro, some 1% is from waste gas from an iron manufacturer (blast furnaces). Smart guys the Norwegians: use less oil themselves and sell more of what they pump out of the North Sea to the rest of Europe…
Even so, modern coal and gas power stations have an energetic yield of over 50%. Transmitting lines, transformers, converters and battery losses etc. bring it down at the engine to about 40% energy yield in the car. Still better than combustion engines which are at 25% (gasoline) to 35% (diesel). Additional advantage: cleaning the exhaust from NOx, SOx, particulates,… is much easier in a central large facility than in hundredthousands of mobile sources…
If the price comes down further (essential) and the range gets longer (less important for me), I will likely buy one (if I am still alive then…).

Richard Bell

Not only has the author left out the effects of the efficiency of the generation and distribution of power, but also the efficiency of the charge/discharge cycle of the battery; although, my quick reading up on the subject did not find any significant loss (only 1%).

Richard Bell

I hit a wrong key and posted an incomplete comment.
The efficiency given for steam in the table is deceptive, as it does not include steam turbines, which are about 40%. Steam powered automobiles have the additional problem of not being able to mount adequate condenser systems. Steam locomotives often did not even bother condensing the steam, although exhausting the expanded steam through a nozzle in the smoke box and out the stack did supply the draft needed to keep the fire burning.
Combined cycle generating stations where the exhaust heat of a gas turbine is used to raise steam for a steam turbine are at 60%
Diesel aircraft engines were built and tested at 45% (Napier Nomad); although, these engines cannot be described as either simple or inexpensive (the Napier Nomad can be fairly described as a turboshaft engine with a diesel engine replacing the combustor section).
The bane of the Otto cycle, while not as bad as the Brayton cycle (gas turbine engine fuel consumption at idle is usually 30% of the fuel consumption at full rated power), is part load efficiency. Closing the throttle valve reduces power by increasing the pumping losses and effectively reducing the compression ratio. Cars are not well designed to run their engines at peak efficiency, so the efficiency in use of an Otto cycle engine is always lower than the potential efficiency. The Cadillac V4-6-8 was the first engine to try to address the part load problem, but did it badly. The diesel cycle solves much of the part load problem by eliminating the throttle valve and controlling power output by varying the fuel flow.
The Atkinson cycle increases the efficiency of an engine by cleverly allowing the compression and expansion ratios of the piston cycling in a cylinder to be different.
Assuming charging from a combined cycle plant, the electric vehicle drops to about 55% (transmission and distribution losses are not very large), which is not that much better than potential diesel engines. A diesel-electric series hybrid offers the best of both worlds. Coal fired electric vehicles are not much better conventional gasoline powered cars.

WXcycles

@ Richard,
The author does mention electrical transform loses.
re this:
” … Coal fired electric vehicles are not much better conventional gasoline powered cars. … ”
Besides being untrue this sort of characterisation sounds more and more pointless in discussions of EVs, so why keep doing it?
Who cares how the electrons are generated? Do you care where your gasoline came from, or just its cost and availability? It’s not a discussion about the environmental pros and cons of electron varieties. It’s just a compare and contrast of both owning and driving EV, verses ICE.
Is your dishwasher coal powered? Or is that a totally irrelevant factor? Well it’s totally irrelevant to the EV owner too.
All that matters here is cost, practicality and reliability of operation over time.
To insinuate that cost of operation is even remotely similar for ICE and EV is not even close to true, and that is the only efficiency that matters here, for owner or prospective buyer.
It is really drawing an absurdly long bow for critics to keep playing a relative efficiency card, when attempting to make ICE engines look competitive (or even sensible any more).
Yes, EVs cost more to buy for now, economies of scale will change that big-time within the next 10 years. But the cost to operate an EV is DIRT CHEAP—right now. And that makes a LOT of sense to the owners.
But running costs of operating an ICE vehicle … wow! … now that’s rediculously EXPENSIVE, in comparison to an EV.
So who cares about some meaningless ‘coal powered’ lable, or the irrelevant contrived efficency arguments?

Rod Smith

Yes. This article is very poor from an engineering perspective, lots of omissions (like the national generation mix, with mostly fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal providing the energy to charge his EV), meaningless apples-and-oranges comparisons (like his deceptive “energy efficiency” diagram which totally misses the point that EV are simply energy delivery systems), and misleading physics. As an engineer, I give it an F.

This article is very poor from an engineering perspective, lots of omissions (like the national generation mix, with mostly fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal providing the energy to charge his EV)

It seems like you would like another article. I have chosen not to analyze the energy mix because it is an entirely different topic. My focus is the fundamental differences between ICE and EV concerning energy economy, performance and driving experience.

meaningless apples-and-oranges comparisons (like his deceptive “energy efficiency” diagram which totally misses the point that EV are simply energy delivery systems),

You miss the point here Rod.
If you use electricity or gas to heat water, you will use about the same energy because electricity is no better than gas in warming up stuff.
But electricity is far better than gas in converting electric energy to mechanical energy. This is a fundamental difference between fossil energy and electric energy.
You could justify looking at electricity as energy delivery system to the cars if the electricity was generated by the same resource as diesel and gasoline, but it is not. We do not use oil for power generation, and we do not use nuclear, coal, natural gas or renewable energy as direct power sources for our cars. The two energy forms origins from different sources, but they are both available to the customer as energy which can be measured by the same units.
We customer would benefit to use gas for what it is most suited to and electricity to what that energy for is most suited to. It is therefore useful to know that electric energy have better efficiency than fossil energy when used to drive automobiles.
/Jan

Komrade Kuma

Diluting the ‘superior efficiency’ of the EV is the ‘efficiency’ of the electrical generation and distribution system which sure the hell ain’t 95%. In addition to that is the fact that hydrocarbon fuel stores energy at 30 to 40 MJ/kG whereas even the best battery technology is just approaching about 1 mJ.kG so the 95%er technology starts a damn long way behind, and order of magnitude or more in mass of on board energy storage. An EV must weigh a lot more to have reasonable range.
I was talking to a younger colleague recently who was spruiking the benefits of his Tesla and its 500 km range, plug in at home and $4 recharge cost and I guess ~$100k initial price tag. I countered with my 15 year old diesel station wagon which can get 1200 km on a tank and I can fill up in 5 minutes all over the place. Oh and I paid $25k for it 10 years ago. I reckon I am so far in front it is not funny. I did not even raise what does he do when he is 500 km from home and the battery is flat.
EV’s are fine as town cars I guess but that is hardly the end of the discussion.

Rod Smith

Yes. Add to that the fact that a hybrid is nothing more than a very small throttled ICE trying to mimic a diesel (which has no vacuum causing throttle), save regeneration, using batteries & electric motor as a load leveler. This is based on the “pump loop” of thermodynamic theory (PV diagram), where, as my old automotive engineer thermo professor taught us, the spark ignition ICE’s throttle plate causes the creation of a strong manifold vacuum (vacuum pumps take lots of energy), which is only felt when gearing down. But it sucks energy at constant speed, even if one cannot feel it. So the solution is to use such a small engine that it generally operates at high throttle settings as to minimize manifold vacuum. But then the engine is too small to be practical, unless, viola! One adds batteries and an electric motor for hill and passing boost. But this begs the question: Why not just use a diesel in the first place?

Bryan A

Not necessarily that much trouble, you just need a can of gas and a Honda Pull Start Generator

StephenP

I cannot make out where the writers live, but here in the UK we have had a wet cold winter, and no mention is made of the effect of lights, radio, demisting and heating on the range possible with the leaf. There have also been a number of occasions where drivers have been caught in traffic holdups on motorways for several hours in the snow. What happens then?

WXcycles

When EVs are not rolling they are bearly discharging, so what’s the problem? If that’s the concern, just buy a hybrid electric, and it will autonatically start and recharge itself while stationary, then shut itself down again without the dtiver doing anything. Many hybrids will do 900 km on a full tank.

Roger Knights

“When EVs are not rolling they are bearly discharging, so what’s the problem?”
Tesla’s are not just “barely discharging.” Some model 3 Tesla owners are finding that there are phantom discharges when parked or overnight. Some of this is to activate the cooling or heating system to keep the batteries in the right temperature range.

No sale sorry.
Even at $6732 for a battery replacement I doubt many people will actually replace the battery – for an 8 yr old car that price likely represents more than 50% of the value of the car.
So with battery life at ~8 yrs that effectively means the cost of the car has to be written off before you need a new battery.
A Tesla at $35,000 / 8 years = $4375 / year drop in value, substantially higher than an equivalent gasoline car which would likely still be worth $8000 or so, resulting in a depreciation of $3375 / year assuming $8000 trade in or resale value after 8 years. And that 8 year old car will deliver nearly 100% or its original range right up to the point it is sold.
The used battery might have some salvage value, but a higher salvage value will also be reflected in a higher replacement battery cost, so no real win.

Chris

Except that a battery life of 8 years is flat out wrong, at least for best in class. Here’s real world, up to date data from 350 Tesla owners. The trend line indicates 300,000 km before battery life drops to 90%, which is still more than ample for most owners. 300,000km is 186,000 miles, which is 12-15 years of life, depending on annual miles driven (I used a range of 12,000 miles to 15,000 miles). And the battery is still at 90%, so no need to replace it at all. A more realistic replacement figure would be 70-80%, meaning something in the 240,000 to 300,000 mile effective life. https://electrek.co/2018/04/14/tesla-battery-degradation-data/

An amazing claim, given that in the Tesla’s price ranges for their first models; few people treat the Tesla as a daily driver.

Chris

I’m not sure what point you are making, we are talking about EV battery life.

MarkW

Those numbers represent batteries being used under ideal, laboratory conditions. In the real world, the numbers are a lot lower.

Chris

MarkW – that is incorrect, these are actual numbers submitted by Telsa owners in Belgium and the Netherlands. They upload their km driven and battery charging capacity data into a publicly accessible Google file. A link to the file is given in the article, for convenience sake I am including it here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/t024bMoRiDPIDialGnuKPsg/edit#gid=1669966328

Shoshin

The point that Atheok is making is that Tesla’s are rich man toys paid for by poor man’s taxes. Without large tax subsidies sales would dry up.
At this point, no cost is ascribed to the EV’s exploiting the existing power grid, so the assumption is that there is none. Very simple back of the envelope calculations show that displacement of ICE powered vehicles by EV’s would require a doubling or tripling of the present electric grid and generation capacity. The calculation goes thusly: Google the amount of transport fuel burned annually and calculate the contained energy. Then look at the power grid capacity. Massive disparity. EV’s would need two to three of our power grids to fill the gap.
As a car guy, the engineering and performance advantages of electric cars are obvious and very interesting. As a guy who cares about the environment, I think the doubling or tripling of the electric grid would wreak environmental havoc. And extended battery life and superfast charging times does not solve that problem. If anything, it makes it more intractable, as everyone tries to pull through the straw quicker.
EV’s are like Blanche Dobois in “A Streetcar Named Desire”; they will always depend on the kindness of strangers. In this case, taxpayers and the fossil fuel industry trowel in the lines and wrinkles of EV’s, In some very specific cases they make sense, but only if someone else is willing to pay for it.

Chris

Shoshin, how do existing electrical devices “pay their way” towards the grid?Through electricity revenues, of course. EVs are no different, so your argument that EVs do not pay their way is incorrect.
Your argument that the grid would need to be tripled or quadrupled is also incorrect. Utilities have excess power at night, it sells at a lower rate. The vast majority of EV owners, when they know this, will set the timer to charge their vehicles at night.
It is fair to say that EVs don’t pay their fair share of road costs, so their would need to be an EV levy, that would be linked to the license tab cost. That is fair and reasonable.

Chris

Shoshin said: “The point that Atheok is making is that Tesla’s are rich man toys paid for by poor man’s taxes. Without large tax subsidies sales would dry up.”
Nope. The federal tax credit for EVs phases out after a car mfr hits an aggregate of 200,000 EV sales. Tesla is close to or has reached that figure. Yet Tesla has 500,000 orders for the Model 3, so the vast majority of those will obviously not be eligible for the tax credit.

Bryan A

But those orders were placed during the time of the subsidy…AND…at their current rate of production those 500,000 pre-orders will likely not be fulfilled until 2020 or 2021

Chris

Bryan said: “But those orders were placed during the time of the subsidy.” 60% of the orders are international, so the US tax credit is irrelevant for them. For those in the US, the roughly 200,000 customers, there has been a lot of press about the phase out of the credit. And Tesla surely would make that clear, else would be open to deceptive practices charges.

Bryan A

Like Tesla has been totally open and up front about everything since they began production of any vehicle?
The only difference between a Tesla with a 240 mi range and a Tesla with a 300 mile range is coding in the computer that drives battery usage… and an extra $10,000 charge to have the extended range accessible.
Even VW has hidden things from the public … and got caught.

A C Osborn

Sorry Chris, but you are totally wrong about EVs paying their way.
They do not pay a single penny/cent of TAX.
In the UK around 66% of the price of vehicular FF is TAX.
Add that to the price of the Electricity used for charging and then you will see a more level playing field, remove the purchase subsidy and then it would be level.

WXcycles

@ Shoshin
“Then look at the power grid capacity. Massive disparity. EV’s would need two to three of our power grids to fill the gap.”
—-
So? Build it and clean generation emissions.
What is a potentual and actual environmental hazard is the on-going global use of petro chemicals, in both usage and trading, plus its strategic threats and consequences, which are also environmentally destructive, from time to time. We know how to use all current fuel sources cleanly. It is the treatment, refining and transport of oil and its cracking products which represents the greatest environmental hazard.

Chris

AC Osborn, I’m 100% correct. Shoshin said that EVs don’t contribute anything to grid costs. Which is completely incorrect, any electricity EVs use is paid for, just like any other user of electricity, such as a homeowner or office building owner. Now, someone may choose to give EV owners “free” electricity – whether it be Tesla or a shopping mall, but that consumption is still paid for by someone.
With regards to road taxes, if you bothered to properly read my post, I agreed that EVs should contribute to road maintenance/building costs. And that is happening – 13 states in the US now charge an EV road tax: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/13-states-now-charge-fees-for-electric-vehicles#gs.F3EXEik

I am sorry but out here in the real world things are very different than in the ideal world of Tesla testing labs. Out here the batteries do not work too well when ambient temperatures are too low or too high and the range falls substantially when you put two kids, a wife, and luggage in the car and want to drive to a vacation spot in temperatures that require the use of A/C or heating, all of which come courtesy of the battery. And out here the batteries are charged with electricity that comes from generation that mostly depends on the use of fossil fuels. There is an energy loss during the generation process as well as an energy loss during the transmission process. That makes the EV efficiency claim not all that realistic. And if instead of fossil fuels we use non-hydro ‘renewables’ for our electricity generation, things are much worse and far less economic.
We can debate about all kinds of nonsense by making all kinds of assumptions. But in the end, the market does not care about our assumptions and will be a fair judge. From where I stand, Tesla has been one of the biggest scams of my lifetime. Given the SEC filing data, I expect to see Musk announce that shareholders will be severely diluted as he searches for more funding or announce that Tesla is heading for Chapter 11 (or Chapter 7) financing within the nest six months.

The discussion of fuel efficiency totally ignores the loss of efficiency in producing the electricity in the first place. While the conversion of electricity into the motion of the car may be better than for gasoline powered IC vehicles, when you factor in the production of the electricity, the fuel efficiency goes way down.
A second point is that, in any technology, the improvements early on are low hanging fruit – it’s easier to get that big battery improvement at the start, but further bumps to cost are slower later on.
And, finally, where will all that lithium come from to supply all those batteries. Surely the expected cost reductions are based on economies of scale. If the lithium supplies won’t support the scale, thn the economies can’t be gotten.
That’s not to say that I think there may not be a way for electric cars to be a good idea. I can see the possibility of a ‘charging lane’ on the interstate highways, where cars (and especially trucks) can ride all day without using up a (smaller) battery’s charge.

“That’s not to say that I think there may not be a way for electric cars to be a good idea. I can see the possibility of a ‘charging lane’ on the interstate highways, where cars (and especially trucks) can ride all day without using up a (smaller) battery’s charge.”
The problem with these ideas is the socialization of costs. Why should ordinary people subsidize the very rich who seem to be the only ones capable of paying the extremely high prices for vehicles that don’t perform all that well and are mostly useful to signal virtue that may or may not be real? Why should governments tax ICE vehicles so much that they double the price of the cars and allow EV owners toll-free access of highways that ICE vehicle owners must pay to use even as they pay huge amounts in gasoline taxes that pay for the road building activities in the first place?
I don’t care one way or another because I do not have all of the information. But if we stop meddling through the regulatory process, the market will tell us what makes sense and what doesn’t. I suggest that we stop promoting particular vehicle types and let consumers choose the solutions that producers offer.

WXcycles

However Eric, as the author also states, that battery cost has been falling about 14% per annum.
14% of $6,732 = $942
So battery price next year will be around $5,800.
In seven more years … it will be comparitively CHEAP to replace. Economy of scale will just keep pushing battery costs down, just as it has for 20 years now, in hybrids.

If EVs made economic sense why do we need to subsidize them?

WXcycles

However Eric, as the author also states, that battery cost has been falling about 14% per annum.
14% of $6,732 = $942
So battery price next year will be around $5,800.
In seven more years … it will be comparitively CHEAP to replace. Economy of scale will just keep pushing battery costs down, just as it has for 20 years now in hybrids.

Graeme#4

Heard of the bathtub curve? You cannot simply assume that costs keep decreasing annually. They eventually plateau then climb again. If prices kept falling we would all simply wait for our cheap laptop and mobile phone.

WXcycles

@Greame
Yes, which is why I gave just one year to illustrate the implication. I do not know the future, so said, “In seven more years … it will be comparitively CHEAP to replace.”.
And it will be, if it even needs replacing during the practical life cycle of the car, which frankly, seems unlikely anyway.

Shytot

Interesting viewpoint and it confirms that for vehicles as with everything else in life – one size does not fit all – we are all individuals.
You don’t mention the overall cost of the vehicle as a +/-.
Even for a basic Tesla you need to take out a mortgage.
All other Electric vehicles (much like renewables) are subsidised and they still cost more than the equivalent ICE based vehicle. so cost of ownershiop (relative to size of vehicle / capability) is a “-” at the outset of your purchase.
Going forward, the overall “cost” of ownership cannot decrease because as people transition to EV then governments have to recover the lost tax revenues from ICE and pile it onto EV drivers.
Furthermore, our energy bills are already increasing due to involuntary green subsidies, so charging your car at home is another expense and it is also reliant on the premise that when we reach the great green wet dream of us running 100% on renewables – will we have enough electricity to boil our kettles let alone charge a huge Li-Ion cell repeatedly.
I have no doubt about the performance of electric and the potential (no pun intended) but the limited range and laborious charging make them unattractive v what we have in ICE based vehicles. Also, the battery lifetime as you mention is an unknown, so if they have to be scrapped after 8 years because it is uneconomical to change the batteries, then it is good news for the car manufacturers and bad news for consumers.
So until they have interchangeable battery packs, better range and lower selling prices (or a clear path to lower prices) then they are not of any real use to me.

Alex

I would rather buy an 8-year-old ICE vehicle rather than an 8-year-old EV

I bought a 20 year old straight 6 F-150 with a 5 speed 18 months ago. The motor had 260,000+ miles on it. That is impressive, imo. It still runs strong, but is now burning some oil plus a few drips. It should last for many more years as it was well kept, and I can do the upkeep repairs. That is hard to beat for cost.

Lee L

Well..see… that is because you bought something 20 yrs old that has been grandfathered re: pollution controls.
A modern diesel, for example, has a NOX converter, a Diesel Particulate Filter, and maintenance for its Exhaust Gas Recirculation valve in addition to the traditional maintenance items.
These items MIGHT last you maybe 100,000 miles and need replacing at a cost that will shock you.
IN my case the diesel has 60,000 miles on it and is on its THIRD DPF filter. The replacements were each thousands of dollars under warranty. No more. Last trip I took got dinged for $4100 for oxygen sensors and maintenance items.u
Basically, an ICE now has an on board environmental testing lab that actually stops your car if it fails to pass the testing. Unfortunately, the testing lab is more failure prone than the things it is testing for, but thank you EPA.

WOW, had no idea about that “…Basically, an ICE now has an on board environmental testing lab that actually stops your car if it fails to pass the testing…”. That is government overreach at its worst.

Maintenance on that block or a replacement engine is pretty cheap compared to a new vehicle of any type. I discovered that I get new(er) cars when I get bored with the old(er) ones.

Yes, it is a nice straight forward design, relatively easy to work on. The torque on the motor is amazing. I read up on the vehicle after getting it. I am glad that I did as I read that the motor basically lasts forever, if it is not revved over 3,000 rpm. I have never had such a low revving motor before so that was a key point to know about.

Phil Rae

Certainly an interesting article and my thanks to the author and to Anthony for posting it. I am still a fan of the ICE although I do think hybrids offer a useful compromise along the development path, especially serial hybrids (which essentially use the ICE only as a generator). This provides most of the abovementioned EV benefits with the flexibility of conventional gasoline engine fillup times and the insurance of extra mileage, etc.
Norway is rather unique electricity-wise with large hydroelectric capacity and a small population. The biggest issue for pure EVs (BEVs), apart from the obvious ones of cost/subsidy/charge time/battery life, is the fact that most electricity to charge them is being generated by thermal stations burning coal and gas and today’s grid is unlikely to cope with a large number of EVs unless it is substantially upgraded.

Klem

Taxes on a new ICE car in Norway amount to about 100%, so a $30k car will cost you $60k out the door. In Denmark the taxes are 180%, so the same car will cost about $80k. Electric cars are taxed at much lower levels, but that will change soon enough.

Rod Everson

A tax rate of 100%? Then 180%? Seriously?
And to think that in America we rebelled over a simple tea tax. Norwegians and Danes should be in full-throated rebellion by now.

Lee L

They had to do SOMETHING to get people on bikes. Massive taxes on cars was how it got done.

In Europe you may buy a new car in any EU country and contrary to other goods, don’t pay the tax in the country where you buy, but in the country where you live. That has made a good commerce for buying new cars in Denmark as car prices are at the bottom, or they can’t sell them due to the high taxes… In my country (Belgium) it gets around 30%, quite a difference… Unfortunately, nowadays many car makers make it impossible to follow that route…

MarkW

Between opposition from greens and most of the best sites already being developed, there’s not a lot of room for expansion of hydro power in Norway. As a result all the extra electricity needed to support an expansion in the electric fleet will be coming from sources other than hydro.

Curious George

An electric car is for you, if you can afford a second car exclusively for a short commute.

MarkW,
As said above, Norwegians are smart people: although they can’t expand their hydro, they now receive massive amounts of solar and wind power from Denmark and Germany, when these have surplus production and not enough demand. That power is for free (may be even paid for!), so they don’t need to use their hydro at that moment. Some periods they deliver power back to these countries if these have shortages (for a good price), but all together their neighbours increased their power capacity.
A lesser nice point is that they want to introduce lots of wind power in their country too. Together with their hydro capacity, that is the easiest way to manage the fluctuations in wind power production. Unfortunately, that will ruin their beautiful landscape which is my favorite vacation destination (been there over ten times…)

which is my favorite vacation destination (been there over ten times…)

Ferdinand,
Give me a notice next time you come
Let’s take a beer together and solve some of the world’s problems.
I am serious!
/Jan

Jan Kjetil,
Thanks for the invitation! Have some friends at Krokstadelva we like to visit (we met them in 1976 on the top of the Galdhøpiggen!). As you live near Oslo, that is not a far distance away. Not for this year as we had to buy a new car (oh horror, with gasoline motor, as there was no diesel version in automatic – my wife needs an automatic due to low back pain problems), so our vacation budget is near zero for the rest of the year…
If you like, you can view our Norway foto’s at:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/familie/en_norge.html
The Dutch version is going a little farther south:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/familie/nl_norge.html
Last update is from 2007/2008, still a lot to scan and add…
Mange hilsener fra Flandern / Belgia

Wow, many magnificent pictures there Ferdinand.
I see you have hiked deep into the mountains. Olavsbu is a tough walk, and the tour over Besseggen is a 7 hour hike.
I have hiked to several of this places myself, but the Besseggen tour is still on my “have to do once” list.
Zero vacation budget does not match well with Norwegian prices, so we have to meet next year then.
/Jan

ralfellis

And the noisless engine allows you to run over pedestrians, without them ever knowing you were comming…!
R

I have heard the claim that the silent car pose a threat to pedestrians, but I have never seen any facts that confirms it.
On the contrary, statistics from Norway show that it seems to be fewer accidents with EV than with ICE.
Secondly, there are other silent cars, Rolls Royce and other luxury brands have been noiseless for quite a long time. Have you seen any statistics showing that those cars are involved in more accidents with pedestrians?

Stewart Pid

Ralfellis – my neighbour (about 1/2 a block away) has a Tesla S and trust me the Tesla S is as noisy as any vehicle. I don’t know what you drive but the motors in both my cars are the quietest part of the drivetrain when standing beside them as they drive by at city speeds. The tire noise is far and away the greatest noise source. Of the ICE vehicles the war wagons (often mufflerless) and diesels are the only ones with any serious motor noise.

icisil

There are actually laws in some places mandating that EVs have noise generators so that pedestrians will not be caught unawares.

Greg Cavanagh

Is there a big loud speaker on the front of the car going “broom broom, zoom zoom” or does it go “look at me, look at me” ?

Anders Valland

The noiseless engine is not so much a point since most noise is from the rest of the car – tires, wind etc. A Tesla on the highway makes just as much noise outside as any other modern car. I know, I live in Norway where we have lots of Teslas.
Jan Ketil sites some kind of statistic on EVs and accidents, which was made when we had very few EV’s in Norway. The study did not account for differences in driving style and demographic of EV users and the normal population. Nobody expects EV’s to be different for ICE vehicles with regard to accidents, though. With the acceleration issues they might even be worse, since it makes people try to overtake in more risky situations. The road standard in Norway is challenging, to say the least.

Thank you Anders
My point in citing statistics for accidents was to counter rafaellis hint that they are dangerous.
I have not seen any statistics that support this insinuation.
/Jan

John from Europe

“Tesla is leading the range contest with 500 km (310 mile) range and a supercharging rate of 270 km (170 miles) in 30 minutes. With those figures, the range and filling time properties starts to close in on fossil fueled cars.”
No, the car I drive refills within 10 minutes for another 1300 km. Bye Tesla, see you in a week.

MarkW

Super charging dramatically cuts down battery life.

John Hardy

MarkW – I’ve tested batteries at 3C charge (equivalent to flat to full in 20 minutes) over 500 cycles and there is a slight loss off life. Certainly not dramatic. You might like to connect your comments to some evidence

dodgy geezer

….Well first of all, there is no theoretical upper limit for efficiency like the Carnot theorem for EV. A frictionless electric engine has a theoretical efficiency of 100%…
Um. For a true comparison you can’t just assume that you have energy in your batteries – you have to figure out how to get it there.
So you need to count in the energy efficiency of generating the electricity, plus the efficiency of transporting it and the various conversion processes it goes through on teh way. Which, I suggest, brings electrical energy much closer to parity with chemical energy.
Incidentally, if you leave an electric car for a month with a full battery, does it retain the energy as well as a petrol car? How easy is it to refuel an electric car if it runs out on the motorway? There are quite a few less measurable situations where an easily transportable compact fluid source of energy is very helpful…

MarkW

He’s also assuming a motor with super conducting windings. Without that, there is energy lost to resistance, plus other parasitics, such as varying magnetic fields causing eddy currents in the metal of the motor.

Bill Murphy

Exactly the point I was going to make. For an honest “green” comparison of energy efficiency you need to include the Carnot efficiency of the generating plant plus all the I²R loss in the transmission lines plus the charging efficiency of the charger and battery. There are also some (admittedly minor) I²R losses in the onboard wires and controllers and motor, as was mentioned in the article.
The biggest issue I have with the current situation with EVs is that they are essentially freeloading on the rest of us with not only the huge subsidies (paid from general tax revenue), but by avoiding the even larger road use taxes currently collected as gasoline taxes. In places like NY, PA and CA that amounts to about $0.02/mile or $1.25 per 100km, or 7.3 cents per KWh. That’s roughly $1.75 per full charge that a Leaf owner should be paying.

WXcycles

@ Bill,
” … but by avoiding the even larger road use taxes currently collected as gasoline taxes .. ”
Bill, this is BOTH an incentive to buy EV, AND a disincentive to keep buying ICE, it is not just unfair, it is ALSO an opportunity.
Two sides to that coin.

OweninGA

Now hold up there, not quite an apples to apples if you start at the generator.
If you start at the generator for EV (actually should start at the fuel source – coal mine, gas well, uranium mine, windmill factory[including the generation supporting it – back to the resource], solar cell [back to the factory…] ), then for the ICE vehicle you should start at the well head and follow it to the tail pipe. Then we have apples to apples comparisons. I don’t think EVs come out very well in that end to end comparison, but I haven’t seen the numbers to say for sure.

AGW is not Science

Well, then you would similarly have to start at the coal mine or gas field for EVs.

OweninGA

That’s what I said in the first sentence – only I traced back everything but hydro.
I don’t think we are actually disagreeing, but total efficiency really does have to include the whole cycle including the difference in making the nickel steel for the ICE verses the mining of rare earths for the electric motor, the lithium or nickel for the battery etc. I think the more extensive the resource train goes the worse it looks for the EV.

WXcycles

The owners don’t care about the efficiency fluff, but they’re impressed as hell that they can go hundreds of km on a few bucks.
This efficiency quibbling is more or less irrelevant as driving EV’s is dirt cheap, and no one cares about people parsing and hair-splitting how and why that is.

Well I have, and I must say that in spite of the low range, I am overall very satisfied with it.
Due to the good energy economy, it has a driving range from 140 km with modest speed in the summer to about 80 km in the coldest winter months. Those ranges may seem puny, but in my experience, it covers the vast majority of most people’s driving needs.

BINGO! I would love to have a small electric two door Hatchback essentially a two seat car to zip around town in.

MarkW

Since I can’t afford two cars, I will be forced to stick with one car that can serve in all conditions.

AGW is not Science

Yes – but even if you can afford the cost of the vehicles themselves, having additional vehicles for limited or specialized uses ONLY essentially multiples your insurance costs.
“Multiple vehicle discounts” on car insurance don’t divide the premium by the number of vehicles, so even if the number of drivers remains the same, adding an “extra” limited/special use vehicle just about multiples your car insurance cost by [cost per vehicle x number of *extra* vehicles].
Not to mention the insurance cost for EVs will probably begin to climb quickly as the extra risks/costs associated with EVs involved in accidents are reflected in premium rates (i.e., replacement of damaged battery packs, more “totaled” vehicles when they catch fire due to short circuits, etc.).

ralfellis

This analysis seems to forget some important points.
Before they were demonised, European diesel cars were attaining 40% efficiency, which makes them very economic. I easly get 45 mpg from my large 5-door diesel, in mixed driving, and the new versions of the same car are 15% more efficient than mine.
Also, this analysis does not take into account the generation of electricity. In the US, coal still supplies 30% of electricity, and gas another 30%. And there are something like 50% in losses just turning that fuel into electricity, let alone all the other losses. In my calculations, diesel cars are 40% efficient, while EV cars are about 35% efficient.
https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3
On the positive side, I have been using Tesla taxis in Finland, and they appear quite durable. The interior stays warm from the small heater, despite the -30 oc temperature outside, and the car seems quite reliable. Although the driver has to take a break in mid-shift, to recharge. And since Finland is mainly hydro, you can say that a Tesla is quite environmental there.
R

dearieme

More and more of our taxis here are electric or hybrid (East Anglia, neighbourhood of Cambridge). I asked one driver about charging: “mainly at home overnight, with a top-up at lunch break.”

Leo Smith

You can 45mpg (Imperial) from a 10 year old 2.7 litre turbodiesel JAGUAR luxury saloon! That 200bhp of mildly tuned Ford V6 diesel power

HotScot

Sorry, nothing surprising or persuasive here for me.
What this article utterly ignores is that I believe 40% of UK households don’t have private parking i.e. a drive, nor garage they can access power from.
Our streets are lined with vehicles which have no access to electric power unless householders drape cables from their house to their car, across pavements (sidewalks).
In my case, I would have to accomplish that by draping a cable across two roads and two pavements, as would my neighbours.
The alternative might be to spend eye watering amounts of money lining streets with, perhaps, pre paid charging points. This, however, exposes cables to vandalism. And what happens when the Sunday visitors drive their EV’s to visit relatives in our street and either find there are no charging points because the residents are all plugged in; or they use the points thereby depriving residents of charging facilities.
I love the idea of electric cars for all the reasons cited, except the foregoing and the range.
A trip from the SE of England to Glasgow (around 4 miles or say 650 Km.) takes me around seven hours (it has taken me over twelve thanks to holiday traffic) in an IC engined car. With a modern diesel I can make that journey uninterrupted by fuelling.
A Nissan Leaf, by all accounts, would have to stop 4.6 times on that journey to re charge (650 Km./140 Km.) assuming I drive at “modest” speeds, and the weather is warm and sunny. And if anyone knows anything about British weather, that’s not too often.
Now assuming a quick charge takes 30 minutes to achieve a full 140 Km. range (which I doubt) recharging alone would add over two hours to my journey. That’s also assuming there are sufficient charging points, and I can guarantee that during stress times, holiday traffic, hold up’s, road works etc. that just wouldn’t happen.
I could always take out a second mortgage and buy a Tesla, but that seems a bit extreme.
And whilst I accept that almost the same arguments were almost certainly made when the IC engine was proposed as a replacement for horse drawn carriages, the motor car could challenge the horse in terms of range with a big enough fuel tank, and the horses charging station (the stable) was eliminated altogether, as was it’s frequent refuelling stops at a convenient grassy field.
This also exemplifies the stupidity of climate change science itself. Scientists drawing on their own practical experiences of life to dream up ideal scenarios on which to base their experiments, largely ignoring the practical aspects of what they’re studying.
And I’ll provide one glaring example, Michael Mann’s infamous hockey stick graph. Using a variety of data from different sources, including a single (I believe) tree ring sample, all stitched together by some dubious methods to present his vision of the future, influenced in large part, by his own life experiences and distorted beliefs. Perhaps not a great example of ethical scientists, but perhaps the most extreme example.
Nor will I go into the sources of power, which are not in evidence in the UK, to energise all the EV’s our government has decreed will be on the road in 2040.
Sorry, but whilst this article may be largely correct in stating most people’s journeys are easily dealt with by EV’s, that might be, at best, for 60% of car owners.
What the hell do the rest of us do?
When EV’s can compete with IC engined vehicles, without government subsidies (don’t get me started on that one either) then I’ll be happy to make the change.

Bear

And that assumes that there isn’t a queue at the charging station. I’ve never measured it, but my time to fill a tank is probably about 5 minutes. So even if someone is in front of me, that’s maybe 15 minutes to fill the tank. The Leaf in a similar situation would take not 20 minutes but 40. One of the reasons it doesn’t show up is that there are so few EVs using the charging stations.

WXcycles

You realise a Nissan Leaf is a city daily commuter vehicle, right? As mentioned up the page, there are Teslas models now that can easily do that same trip without recharging, even if it took 12 hours, many hybrids likewise.

HotScot

WXcycles
UK Tesla prices START at over £60,000 in the UK.
My brand new Mercedes E Class estate car cost half that.
I can buy a VW UP! GTi for £12,000. It might need refuelling once to do the trip to Scotland, and will comfortably cruise at 80mph – 90mph all day long. It’s also tiny so can be used as a daily commuter.
A Nissan Leaf can be bought for……..wait for it – nearly £30,000! If it can’t do much more than a daily commute, it’s an extremely expensive milk float.
And whilst both my Mercedes and the VW UP! can be refuelled in about 5 minutes each, I’m one of the unfortunate 40% in the UK with no access to a home charging point for an electric car. The Leaf would be used until the battery went flat, then I have an eye wateringly expensive bit of street furniture.
As for hybrids, a modest Toyota Prius starts at around £25,000, only £5,000 less than my Maercedes. It solves the problem of charging, but then so does the VW UP! at half the price.

WXcycles

@Hotscot
Ah … but what you convenienly omit is that if you spend just $75 per week to commute, this equates to:
$75 × 52 = $3,900 /yr
And over ten years this adds $39,000 to your ICE operating costs.
An EV’s fuel cost would he a SMALL fraction of that $39,000. Basically the fuel savings alone of operating the EV for 15 years of commuting will finance the purchase of a new EV, at that time.
Your current cars’ operating fuel savings will not finance their own replacement cost.

I also have a positive experience of electric vehicles…comment image

Tom

You should have spent more time talking about driving cost efficiency rather than thermodynamic efficiency. What drives consumers is cost. On that score, I think electrics do far better, although they aren’t paying any road taxes (yet). The other problem is that the cars most people want to drive here in the US are pickups and SUV’s where there is no real electric option.

Roger

He should discuss cost before taxes and subsidies.

OweninGA

For me the biggest worry for EV is that eventually the government will be spying on the movements of all citizens through the expediency of taxing their road mileage. No government in today’s world would be able to resist the temptation to make a database and track the movements of all people. Not a problem if the government is about enforcing the freedoms of its people, but too many would see it as a way to totalitarian power. Too many modern politicians and bureaucrats read 1984 as a manual rather than a warning.

WXcycles

oh come off it, they can do that with mobiles and smartphones, for the last 35 years. Do you use a phone?
Yeah, so spare us the hypocritcal BS.

Thanks Tom,
The driving cost depend on government taxes and subsidies, which may change with time.
I chose to focus on the physics because it tells something fundamental about the technology and that do not change.
/Jan

I was a fan of rotary motors, and got quite good at rebuilding them. I even learned a few tricks of my own when rebuilding to improve performance. The torque range was quite good up to 7,000 rpm, and the top rpm reached 8,500 rpm with diminishing results from the power band. I had my best rebuild placed in a Mazda P/U with a four speed tranny. I would shift first gear at 45 mph, second gear at 85 mph, and 3rd gear at 115 mph when full on the throttle. Fourth gear would roll at 130 mph. That was a fun little rusty red rat vehicle. I surprised quite a few V-8s with it. I would have liked to experiment further with it, if I ever had the money to try out some of my ideas for redesigning it. That never happened.

ralfellis

We still have three manufacturers of rotaries in the UK, mainly for drone and microlight aircraft. They are very simple, light, fairly efficient, and work on either petrol of avtur (diesel).
http://www.rotronuav.com/engines/rt-300ja1
http://www.rotronuav.com/images/rotron-RT600hfe-rotary-engine.jpg
R

Thanks for the link, will check that out.

Paul Schnurr

It’s refreshing to hear some good things about EVs instead of the usual guilt trip about saving the earth. I’ve also heard they have about 1/10 as many parts as the typical internal combustion car and will put a lot of mechanics into re-training. Back in the day when you had to dispose of your own car battery I remember how hard that was and this worries me a bit when in the future there will be millions of EVs on the road. Are the batteries easily recycled?

In some countries they plan to re purpose car batteries as grid storage. Very cheap

Paul Schnurr

Hmm, do they ever wear out? My experience with re-cycling is with the old lead-acid car batteries.

Grid storage? How silly can you get? I should buy this over-priced EV and then plug it in and don’t drive on cloudy days with winds that are too high or too low? Why don’t you just dictate that everyone spend $50k for at home grid storage?

Chris

Bob Greene said: “Grid storage? How silly can you get? I should buy this over-priced EV and then plug it in and don’t drive on cloudy days with winds that are too high or too low? Why don’t you just dictate that everyone spend $50k for at home grid storage?
What Mosher is saying is that at the END of battery life for an EV battery, it can be re-purposed for grid storage. Battery life is 300,000 to 500,000 km for the Tesla, based on field data from current customers.So at the end of the 12-20 year battery life (depending on driving miles and battery life), the car owner can sell the battery to the utility, who would most likely be happy to pick up cheap storage capacity.

Bryan A

Battery life is ESTIMATED to be 300,000 – 500,000 km. as no Teslas have been driven that far yet. The only Tesla to travel that distance to date is up in space and it’s battery died not long after it left orbit.
Batteries can have their recharge capacities degrade suddenly and exponentially.

Ray in SC

Steven,
If the batteries are at the end of life, how can they be of any use for grid storage? A flat battery is a flat battery whether it is in a vehicle or a substation.

Chris

“Battery life is ESTIMATED to be 300,000 – 500,000 km. as no Teslas have been driven that far yet. The only Tesla to travel that distance to date is up in space and it’s battery died not long after it left orbit.
Batteries can have their recharge capacities degrade suddenly and exponentially.”
Look at the data I posted. There are already owners who are at 250,000 km, and they are still above 90%. Please post your evidence that Tesla EV batteries catastrophically drop off.

GeeJam

Try mowing a large lawn with a rechargeable electric mower. Best of luck.

Chris

So what? There’s a thing called electric lawn mowers, they’ve been around for awhile. And there are battery powered mowers that can mow 1/3 acre on a charge. That’s large enough for 90% of the lawn mowing market. The recharge time is 40 minutes, so larger lawns can be done with breaks that most people take already when doing large lawns. http://www.toptenreviews.com/home/outdoor/best-electric-lawn-mowers/

I do it all the time, it works great My mower has a pocket for a spare battery depending on conditions I may need to plug the second in to finish it off, change-over takes seconds.

Chris

Not to mention the reduction in noise, from 95 dB to 75 dB. And no need to drive to the gas station and fill up a gas can and drive it back while worrying about spills or leaks.

DC Cowboy

I used to have a battery powered mower (I moved to a location that provides the mowing so I don’t need one). I had 3 40v batteries that were easy to swap out. With 3 batteries Each battery lasted about 20 minutes so I could mow continuously for a little over an hour more than enough time to mow my lawn without stopping.

Eustace Cranch

I have a corded electric mower, 20 years old and still going strong. The cord is a bit of a pain but I’m used to it. The exhaust from gas mower engines consistently gave me migraines, so I switched to electric. Still prefer ICE for my car, though.

paqyfelyc

+1 phil and Chris.
I do it too, And I am glad I switched away from ICE or plugged-in electric.
Fuel for ICE was such an hassle. And the noise was awful..
Plugged-in electric is fine, too, provided you have have easy access to a plug. Which the case for one of my lawn, but not for the other.
When the batteries (I have 2 of them) are “empty”, it is time to stop mowing, anyway.

GeeJam

Sincere apologies Chris, Phil and any that have joined this thread. I failed to appreciate just how fast rechargeable lawnmower technology had moved on. My comment was from experience. Had a rechargeable not so long ago and the battery went flat after every 15 minutes. The prices for rechargeable mowers (compared to petrol) seem competetive too. Thanks.

Chris

GeeJam, thanks for the follow up. What some EV skeptics may not know is how aggressively the technology is moving forward. Unlike ICEs, where the pace of innovation is somewhat constrained by the basic physics of combustion engines, for batteries lots of different ideas are being tried and many are succeeding.

Nylo

I own a Renault Zoe. The only ICE car that I would dare compare it to is the Toyota Yaris Hybrid (similar size, similar equipment, and the only close experience to a pure EV is a hybrid, at least you avoid the noise and vibrations in the first meters when accelerating from 0). In this comparison I see that the Zoe is 10,000€ more expensive, and at the ~20,000 km per year that I do it saves me around 1,000€ per year (750 in oil vs electricity prices, and another 250€ yearly average in taxes / maintenance / legal inspections / parking cost reductions). So I need 10 years to recover the investment before it starts to pay off. But in those 10 years I will have exceeded the battery mileage warranty. I may need to change it. Considering that the prices may have gone down to half by then, it would still cost me 4,000€ and yet another 4 years for return of investment. 14 years is a long wait.
In other words: economically, it doesn’t make sense YET. It is more expensive than the ICE alternatives, even considering what you save in oil, maintenance, taxes, etc. Although not by too much. This said, would I buy it again? NO DOUBT. Because there is no ICE that can provide the same driving experience, and I absolutely love it. And this is just with the small Zoe, I cannot start to imagine what it is to drive a Model S.
My much more simplified table of “+” versus “-” would be:
* Driving experience: +++
* Economics: –
* Range: ?
In my case, the limited range doesn’t count because I own another car (ICE) that my wife normally drives and that I can use for the occasional long distance needs (3-4 trips per year at most). Other people may give it a “-“, or “–“, or “—–” based on their real needs, so clearly EVs are not for everybody, but they are quite a good option for some people like me, and an improvement to the health of everyone.

A C Osborn

I do hope you did not “buy” the Zoe as the depreciation is the worst for any car in the UK.

Nylo

I didn’t buy it with the intention of selling it later. I couldn’t care less about depreciation. In the domestic economy calculations that I do, any car has lost ALL of its value after 10 years. This means I consider it costs me 225€ (27000/120) per month to have the Zoe, or that it loses that value every month. Whatever I can get by selling it after the 10 years, I consider it a present, and any extra time that I keep the car, I have it for free. They are improvements to a situation that I already considered good enough when deciding to buy the car.
BTW the depreciation you are talking about is for the old model. Who wants a 240km range NEDC when you can have 400km range NEDC with the new model. It is the result of better cars being available, not a problem with the old car itself.

WXcycles

I
” … In other words: economically, it doesn’t make sense YET. It is more expensive than the ICE alternatives, even considering what you save in oil, maintenance, taxes, etc. … ”

Yeah, right, I notice you left off the price of GASOLINE each week. What is it, $100 bucks? About $5,000 bucks per year, over say 10 years? Gee, that’s like ~$50,000 dollars in ICE car fuel, alone!
You must be VERY rich, if you think that’s so incidental that you forgot to mention it. Btw, what dud your car cost? And you’re comfortable with having less money for your family each week, when you could have saved $90 per week, instead.
You wouldn’t even be able to buy a carton of milk with the power costs of driving to work and back in an EV.

Nylo

WXcycles, I did consider the gasoline. When I said “oil” in the text that you quote I meant gasoil / gasoline. In addition, the actual comparison of fuel expenses vs electricity is totally detailed in my comment, in the paragraph before the one that you decided to quote. The actual “oil” for lubrication that you must have misunderstood from the quoted text, I put it inside the “maintenance” costs that total around 250€ per year on average. And your $100 per week on gasoline are an awesome ammount that, for sure, you will not need with a Toyota Yaris Hybrid, the target of the comparison. Perhaps on a Hummer? I find your understanding pretty limited (“what dud your car cost” >> it’s written right there, “dud”). I won’t waste any more of my time answering to trolls like you that don’t even read what they are supposedly replying to.

Nylo

No it isn’t written right there, I have written several posts on the topic and this one doesn’t have the info. Car costed 27K and I am comparing it to a 17K Yaris Hybrid. Fuel/electricity comparison comes from a cost of 1€/100km to 5,2€/100km. Saves 4,2€/100km or 756€/year for the 18,000 km that I drive yearly.

WXcycles

@Nylo
“The actual “oil” for lubrication that you must have misunderstood from the quoted text, I put it inside the “maintenance” costs that total around 250€ per year on average.”
—-
Utter nonsense, you did NOT include the fuel cost at all, and you are not telling the truth either, you omitted the fuel cost altogether.
And now you want to pretend (laughably) that fuel was included in total maintainence cost, of 250€ per year?
Bwahahahaha
Sure mate, I owned a 2012 Prius that cost $44 AUD to travel 450 km, in 2011 dollars (fuel was abour $1.55/ litre at the time). My fuel use was $45 to $55 per week in a very efficient hybyid. Average that out and it’s $50/week.
$50 x 52 = $2,340 AUD /yr
And below you even say you drive 18,000 km/yr! Well my Prius then cost bang on $29 per 300 km, so driving it your 18,000 km in a year, equates to:
(18,000/300)*$29 = $1,740 /yr
But you now claim ‘oil’ really means ‘fuel’, and your fuel is in total maintainence costs, of a ludicrous 250€ per annum, to take you 18,000 km/yr.
Bullshit.
You are tried to create a deception and when I pointed out what you’d done you called me a troll, and lacking in knowledge, to distract from your lies.
No ‘Nylo’, you clearly did not include fuel cost, you included just the routine servicing costs, at best, and then when caught out, you’ve doubled-down with more absurd lies, and are now directly confronted with the quantitative silliness of your whole absurd claim.
250€ /yr for 18,000 km travelled.
Oh yeah, I’m trolling you and my “knowledge” is deficient.
ROFLMAO

The EV will continue to suffer from battery costs (i dont accept extrapolations which lack a technical basis). It’s reasonable to have an EV with a small butane fueled heater for cold climates, and for American families with two vehicles, it may be useful to have a mini the family can use to commute to work, go to the hardware store for a chainsaw, and short trips like that.

D B H

As the article covers, vehicles of the Ev variety have a place – in some peoples minds and hearts. Thats good.
I too wouldn’t hesitate to own one, IF my life style was such that it suited.
But that would require a vocation change – an expense I don’t thing I can afford.
I’m a builder, so a Nissan Leaf may not suit my needs.
Nor a Tesla – of what ever model.
Also, I simply cannot afford new vehicles – so right there is a BIG restriction – of buying an already reduced life EV (battery or vehicle).
I constantly tell my friends who bang on about their super new cordless battery drill, that a real test of just how good it is, would be to let me use it – under normal use (mine) – and see how long it would last – both the drill and the battery.
Not long I contend.
Ditto for EV vehicles.
I think they are great, but if used in the same manner that many/most ICE vehicles DO get used on a daily basis, then their life expectancy would plummet.
Should we have to alter our life style, work choice and use of the chosen vehicle, just to own an EV?
Ummm…no!!

Ken

Agree with your statement!
The emphasis on EV is towards moving only people in congested cities and urban areas and almost completely ignores those that actually build or feed the people in those areas. I live out in the boonies where a pickup truck (Ute) is mandatory to haul around tools, equipment, animal feed and everything else one could possibly imagine. That Nissan Leaf or any other EV would have one heck of a time hauling a bale of hay out to the middle of a field where there are no roads. And do that day in and day out? Please!

HotScot

Ken
Sadly, most environmental regulations are determined by city dwellers who wouldn’t know what the countryside was if they tripped over it. Their concept of the countryside is what they see whilst driving along a motorway, or on their Easter break in a stage managed, holiday complex in the ‘countryside’.
Air quality standards are developed in cities, for cities, yet those who live in the country pay for it. Case in point; London does not have a single functioning power station within the M25 (the motorway that encircles the area commonly referred to as London) instead, it’s power comes from outlying power stations based in? Yep, you guessed it, the countryside.
Nor does London have any meaningful, unsightly wind turbines, they’re all out at sea. Meanwhile, Scotland’s beautiful countryside is blighted by numerous wind farms with turbines up to 180 M tall sprouting from pristine hillsides, with the area further blighted by access roads, bulldozed transmission line trenches, sub station etc.
And whilst this video focusses on Loch Ness, Loch Awe and others fare little better.

Industrial vandalism!

Twobob

An EV is better on the golf course.

lewispbuckingham

https://wattsupwiththat.com/tips-and-notes/#comment-2790985
There is an article in tips and notes on spark controlled compression ignition.
In the featured article much is made of the cost and efficiency improvements in electric vehicles.
However no mention is made of future improvements in gasoline cars so as to make a valid comparison.
But for subsidy and mandated construction targets in Europe, most electric cars would not be built.
There is much said about electric cars being produced in China.
Recently reading an article in the Pakistani press, Pakistan being a market for them, show them to be narrow golf cart vehicles, not longer range road vehicles for the open highway.
Pakistan is teetering on a coal fired electricity future, much to be exported to China.
Much is made of the silent engine, so no exhaust.
Standing on a curb, about to cross, I was close to being run over by one, due to its silent approach.
Bikers in Australia intentionally have loud exhausts to give them a barrier zone of noise to make sleepy drivers,with sound deadening interiors and software, listening to music, be aware of their presence.
Paradoxically electric cars may be saved from mandated noise making, by becoming hybrid, with some sound from an exhaust, especially with a constantly running petrol motor.

Riiight.

‘Automobiles’ in Oakland, Calif. have whistle-tips that can be heard a mile away. Now that is nuisance noise than might benefit hogs riding HOGs.

Patrick MJD

“lewispbuckingham April 25, 2018 at 3:34 am
Bikers in Australia intentionally have loud exhausts to give them a barrier zone of noise to make sleepy drivers,with sound deadening interiors and software, listening to music, be aware of their presence.”
Yeah, riders on hogs with no baffles up and down the streets at all hours. I am sure they need the extra noise to tell “sleepy heads” that there is an extra noisy vehicle on the 50-60kph road that one needs to be made aware of. Never mind the b-doubles and other trucks and busses.

Alasdair

A good article pleasingly devoid of the CO2 Meme. However it also omits the fact that the overall efficiency of a system is the multiple of the efficiencies of the constituent parts.
The 24 KwHrs in his battery was generated by a fossil fuel engine at an efficiency of say 35%? The electric motor then utilises this at say 80%? So the overall efficiency is :
0.80 x 0.35 = 0.28. ie: a 28% efficiency. So the 80% efficiency is not true. Let’s not argue on the pedantics.
OK. We can wheel out the wind turbines and solar panels to offset this; but that is an entirely different matter here.
Otherwise the driving experience seems like a winner and I can see that there is great sense in using these vehicles in towns and for short regular trips where the infrastructure is in place. The Author’s circumstance being a good example. However, for many this is just not an option and certainly not a universal solution to our transport needs.
Meanwhile, here are my own thoughts:
1) I have a drawer full of duff rechargeable batteries.
2) Battery components need to dug out of the ground just like coal and the the political consequences of this are potentially serious, when availability becomes a question.
3) Electrical fires are dangerous and often sudden.
4) A flat battery on a motorway in a blizzard induced traffic jam is life threatening.
5) The mind boggles on the costs of the required infrastructure and the poverty inducing potential in forcing this through via subsidies and legislation.
6) My own circumstances preclude owning an EV. and my next vehicle will probably be a mobility scooter.
7) Few people have the knowledge to properly maintain a battery. They can easily be damaged by inadvertent charging mistakes; or by a glitch in the software. We all know that software has glitches from time to time.
As an aside: In 1948 my father was probably one of the first to use an electric vehicle for commuting purposes. We lived on the southern slopes of Dartmoor and generated our own electricity. He bought a milk float and it was used to transport employees up from the local village, being charged up each day by our trusty diesel. At my age then, I was hard put to swing the hefty flywheel to get it started.

Alasdair April 25, 2018 at 3:42 am
A good article pleasingly devoid of the CO2 Meme. However it also omits the fact that the overall efficiency of a system is the multiple of the efficiencies of the constituent parts.
The 24 KwHrs in his battery was generated by a fossil fuel engine at an efficiency of say 35%? The electric motor then utilises this at say 80%? So the overall efficiency is :
0.80 x 0.35 = 0.28. ie: a 28% efficiency. So the 80% efficiency is not true. Let’s not argue on the pedantics.

The combined cycle natural gas generation (the preferred choice these days) operates at about 60%. So we’re talking about 48% overall efficiency.

58% of electricity from coal and nuclear. Both are Rankine cycle with 35% efficiencycomment image

Alan Tomalty

Most of the reneweables in that chart is from hydroelectricity.

The combined cycle natural gas generation (the preferred choice these days) operates at about 60%. So we’re talking about 48% overall efficiency.

Grid loses 6%
Inverter 90%
Charge/Discharge Li-ion 80-90%
Cooling pump while charging (ambient temperature dependent) ???
Overall efficiency to charge the battery ~ 40.6% – 45.6%
Motor efficiency is dependent on load. Including lights and heating/air conditioning will further reduce the efficiency.

R Shearer

There was a severe snowstorm with deep snow in the Denver area a couple of years ago and I came upon numerous EVs just abandoned in the middle of the road. I’m not sure why this was the case, low clearance, poor traction dead batteries. Whatever, an ICE vehicle with AWD and high clearance clearly outperformed the EVs in those conditions.

Don K

“The noiseless engine let you hear the wind blowing and the birds singing, or you can turn on music and hear it without any disturbing engine in the background.”
I live in a relatively rural setting, but with some traffic. My experience is that — except for the %&*$* trash trucks (why are they out at 0630?) — modern ICE vehicles with functioning mufflers produce more tire noise than engine noise. I can hear them coming from several hundred yards/meters away. But what I hear is the tires, not the engines. I should think the same would be true for EVs.
Very few pure EVs in this part of the world. The winters tend to be a bit nippy in Vermont and the waste heat from ICE and hybrids is welcome when it is -25C (-13F) or colder.
The local supermarket has four EV charging stations, but I’ve never seen anyone actually using them.

Don’t forget the hogs riding HOGs’ grunting as loudly as the trash. We are known by the company that we keep. Shun icky

Hans-Georg

In the foreseeable future, the sale of electric cars will not increase. Apart from the unpredictability of battery life, the risk of fire in the event of an accident, the long charging time and the expensive purchase price, there is a particularly lack of capacity for recharging.
Also electric power is finite and more does not flow through our wires. Even if the power station capacity were increased tenfold, there would not be any more power flowing through a power cable. The network capacity is strongly limited by the physics, even in Germany, which compared to the ancient American network has a much more modern power grid.
So -EVs nope. They are a dead evolution in engine technology. What did someone call this: a niche technology for affable eco-freaks.

Chris

The world’s automakers are not listening to you, they are massively scaling up EV production. The words “dead evolution” – what does that mean?

Hans-Georg

“Dead evolution” is a synonym for “no evolution” ore “pushed evolution” which is another term for zombie evolution (resurrection of the dead).

MarkW

Fascinating how companies responding to government mandates is proof that the consumers want electrics.

AGW is not Science

What MarkW said.

HotScot

MarkW
“Fascinating how companies responding to government mandates is proof that the consumers want electrics.”
Not too fascinating when taxpayer subsidies are dangled as the carrot.

Chris

Hans-Georg,
Rubbish statement. You might not agree with EVs, but there is a huge amount of innovation going on – in battery technology, recharging, electric motors, among others.

RPT

“The prices of Li-ion batteries have dropped considerably recent years and the drop is projected to continue. How fast the prices drop can be debated, but approximately 14% annually, as is described in this article, is a conservative bet.”
Only time will show, but having spent the last 10 or so years working on mathematical models and estimates in relation to M&A (with a formal background in physics) I do not trust these kind of extrapolated figures, particularly not from a source heavily biased in climate religion (Nature Climate Change), and I am very skeptical to this 14% geometric progression.
One trusted source in areas like this in my business is Deutsche Bank’s predictions. According to their latest Litium battery report (https://www.slideshare.net/stockshaman/deutsche-bank-lithium-report-may-2016), figure 13, page 9, the cost of lithium carbonate batteries are expected to fall only slightly in the next few years, then to increase to approximately the same levels as today in the end of the forecast period (2026).
Unfortunately battery technology resembles fusion in the respect that a breakthrough has “always” been expected in the very near future.

Graeme#4

Beat me to it RPT. I wonder if folks that claim that prices always decrease have ever had to design a product and sell it. If all techo prices keep decreasing, we would all be driving $500 cars and using $50 mobile phones. Technology just doesn’t work that way, and I’ve lost count of the number of battery breakthroughs that have been publicised but never seem to make it to market.

Gamecock

So your Leaf is more efficient than my Shelby GT350. That is important why?
‘The noiseless engine let you hear the wind blowing and the birds singing’
Up to 20 mph. Then wind and tire noise make it sound like any other car. That electric cars are silent is true only at low speeds.
‘Noiseless’ is a bug, not a feature. My Shelby GT350 makes the most beautiful sounds. Many people tell me so.

Bob boder

And I will here your Shelby (plus I would much rather see your Shelby then his Leaf) coming when I try to cross the parking lot, not so much the Leaf in fact in many places they are requiring devices on the cars so they make noise just for this reason.

Gamecock

I won’t be sneaking up on anyone.

Gamecock

Tesla makes an excellent luxury car, independent of its drive train. Making Leaf/Tesla comparisons silly. Depreciation of the Leaf is catastrophic. Tesla depreciation is actually low.

Reg Nelson

Up until recently, Tesla had a guaranteed buy back program for used Tesla’s which distorted their resale value.

Stewart Pid

RE Tesla depreciation …. low my **%$
Make Avg Price Last 30 Days Last 90 Days YoY
2012 Tesla Model S $41,058 -7.72% +3.86% -18.63%
2013 Tesla Model S $44,159 -3.12% +3.68% -13.61%
2014 Tesla Model S $53,934 -2.57% +8.33% -6.21%
2015 Tesla Model S $61,550 -7.55% +7.01% -17.13%
2016 Tesla Model S $72,850 -8.68% +0.20% -15.69%
2017 Tesla Model S $86,727 -0.02% -2.02% +18.80%
About CarGurus Our Team Press Investor Relations Careers Blog Mobile Price Trends Dealer Signup Dealer Resources Sitemap Terms of Use Privacy Interest-Based Ads Help Contact Us
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WXcycles

Have you considered that high demand and scarcity drives the price up, until the stimlation of greater production volumes, due that demand and money flood, produces an oversupply, and price then drops to sell the excess production?
Teslas are expensive for the same reason hybrids are, people love them, so the excess demand bids up the price.
More production volume is expensive, it is a long term investment, and needs to be paid for. Once the factory is paid for the price of what you make can drop.
The same thing occurred with the ramping of hybrid production. They could sell them faster than they could make them, so could ask a higher price, and the subsidy covered the difference.
Remove the subsidies and the price will fall to meet demand again.

Sudz

Lithium is a limited resource. Current usage gives us about 300 years worth! Extrapolate and …… oh dear we need something else!

Tom in Florida

Buy stock in lithium mining companies.

Y. Knott

It’s being worked-on – a plastic battery technology that holds ~twice what a Li battery does, and charges insanely fast. Will we ever see it? – who knows, but better batteries are always in the offing. A friend’s brother-in-law works in the battery industry, and said 30 years ago that they could make a lithium battery the size of a coke can that could power an electric motorcycle – and would have the explosive power of a half-stick of dynamite, and frequently would explode. Energy density is energy density, however you do it.
I agree with the author’s position that for some situations an electric vehicle is ideal. For mine, it isn’t – a 1,200-mile road trip in 18 hours with two tons of trailer on the back is something my diesel does with ease. Full-sized diesel trucks, notably the { – brand-name withheld – } Eco-diesel, do highways lightly-loaded at 40+ mpg; a friend has one. Electrics are not practical for fast long-distance travel, especially in the winter. And having destroyed two electronic devices in my comparatively mild winter by leaving them in the car, I can attest that lithium batteries don’t like sub-freezing temperatures – of course the battery could have a self-heating circuit, for as long as it could power it, but don’t leave it parked for a month or even a week.
The article’s plot of comparative efficiencies is skewed and incomplete – modern steam powerplants exceed 50% efficiency, and diesels are not mentioned. One of the Asian car-makers is on the verge of offering a gasoline engine that runs like a diesel – homogenous charge compression ignition, recently announced. ICE efficiencies are improving all the time as well, and have doubled in the last 30 years as digital engine controls have improved.
Finally, the article claims that electric efficiencies are why locomotives are commonly diesel-electric; this is inaccurate. Geared transmissions are even more efficient than electric motors, it’s just that nobody has yet figured-out how to do it with the enormous gears that would be required at those power levels – there are also diesel-hydraulic locomotives. And undeniably, the electric motor has monstrous starting torque, which is where a locomotive does its hardest work.

dan no longer in CA

I’d like to see what the clutch looks like for a 10,000 ton train. Wow.

Bryan A

300 years with current usage but if every US vehicle were electric, usage would jump 300 fold and lithium would last 1 year

usage would jump 300 fold and lithium would last 1 year

Litium last forever. The planet has just as much litium now as it had a billion year ago.
We can therefore recycle it forever.
The 300 years is known resorces, more will be found if we look.
/Jan

WXcycles

Oh yeah, it’s not like we’ll develop a vastly better battery technology in a mere 300 years of R&D.

Solomon Green

Many of the advances in conventional cars have come from motor racing. When electric cars move out of the special Formula E class and start to compete in such events as the Daytona 500, the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, Le Mans or the Safari Rally, I will not be convinced of their overall efficiency.

MarkW

That won’t happen until somebody invents a way to swap a battery pack as quickly as they can currently refill the tank.

John Endicott

As long as the design of the vehicle places the battery pack in an easily accessible location, it should take hardly any time to yank out the current pack and plug in a new one. So shouldn’t be that hard to invent. The bigger problem is having a battery pack that provides the amount of energy needed without having to swap any more often than they currently need to refill the tank. Every stop, no matter how quickly the mechanics do their thing, costs the driver time in the race.

RHS

Yes, I would much rather see EV’s compete in the Daytona 500 than the Daytona 50!

HotScot

Solomon Green
“the Monte Carlo Grand Prix”
I think you mean the Monaco GP.
🙂

Bob boder

No subsidies no issue!
In a free market you can choose what fits best for you and you don’t have to justify your decision to anyone but yourself as long as it fits your needs and priorities more power to you. The issue comes when the government uses a non-existent crisis to use tax dollars to subsidies a market and give it advantage over another to push a political narrative and or to enrich friends and cronies.

AGW is not Science

AGREED!

Why were the inefficiencies of the electrical grid that you charge an EV from ignored? 7% just for grid. Gas Turbine efficiency is about 60%. 40% from coal. And no, renewables are a sham unless you are charging at home using your own solar power.
At the end of the day, Electric vehicles are no more efficient than gas vehicles.
I like the idea of them, from a torque perspective.

Nigel S

The Norwegian grid is only 2% fossil fuel so this is a special case.

MarkW

That will increase if they increase electricity demand by electrifying their transportation fleet.

If all the approximately 3 million cars in Norway were replaced by EV, we would need about 12 TWh more annually, i.e. increasing the electricity production from 150 TWh to 162 TWh.
I think it is room for that with additional hydro and wind.
/Jan

Graeme#4

JKA: Norwegian electricity production would only need to increase from 150 to 162 TWH to support all EVs? Like to see your calculations for that. A recent calculation on this site for the U.S. said a 125% increase would be required, and a similar calculation for Australia on the JoNova website said a 132% increase is required.

Graeme,

Norwegian electricity production would only need to increase from 150 to 162 TWH to support all EVs? Like to see your calculations for that. A recent calculation on this site for the U.S. said a 125% increase would be required,

We have 3 million cars in Norway.
Back of the envelope calculations:
Assuming each car travel 20 000 km annually and use 0.2 kWh per km gives 12 TWh
(20 000 km is probably too much though, so the need is probably lower.)
Norwegian Electricity production is 150 TWh annually.
I have calculated for the US here:
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/04/25/a-positive-perspective-on-electric-vehicles/#comment-2799946

HotScot

Jan Kjetil Andersen
Try this from the late Dr. David MacKay, a committed green who proves renewable’s can’t work, but says we should do them anyway!
https://www.ted.com/talks/david_mackay_a_reality_check_on_renewables

Graeme#4

Jan,
Firstly apologies for mis-quoting David Middleton’s recent figure of 25% extra requirements as 125%.
However, I still think both David and you are calculating the additional power required wrongly. You both appear to use average figures, whereas the recent Australian calculation by “James” in JoNova on March 29 uses the TOTAL fuel consumption for one year that would have to be supported by additional power for EVs. James’ calculation thus arrives at a vastly different, and I believe more accurate, way of determining the power requirement. James’ figures were a total of 32,732 million litres of fuel consumed in Australia in 2016, or 174,618 GWh of petrol and 157,600 GWh of diesel. This total of 332,218 GWh significantly exceeds Australia’s annual total electricity usage of 252,000 GWh, so if all vehicles were EVs, the power requirements go up by 132%.

Anders Valland

Energy is generally not the issue. Power is. Power requires investment in the grid, in Norway this is a real problem. And it is costly.

Graeme said:

“James” in JoNova on March 29 uses the TOTAL fuel consumption for one year that would have to be supported by additional power for EVs.

I looked up James comment in Jonova here: http://joannenova.com.au/2018/03/another-way-to-destroy-a-grid-add-a-million-electric-vehicles/#comment-1994089
Ha makes a grave error because he convert the energy content in petrol and diesel to kWh without taking the much better energy effiency of EV into account.
The correct number is only a quarter of James calculation.
/Jan

commieBob

If you live in a cold climate and have to heat anyway, cogeneration makes sense. Then the fuel cost of your electricity is zero. The capital cost has to be reckoned with. Compared with my old, low efficiency, cheap furnace, the cost of cogeneration is astronomical. Compared with my new high efficiency furnace (mandated by law) the cost of cogeneration is not quite as crazy.
It’s not hard to imagine a situation (some time in the future) where heating your house and driving an electric vehicle is the most economical use of fuel.

John B

Thanks for the article. I do not think many/most people need to be convinced about electric cars; since my childhood it generally has been a constant wish.
Regarding efficiency: I saw no mention of the weight of the batteries. How does this compare with weight of motor fuel in ICE vehicles and affect efficiency?
As for cost. If the current energy used to provide electrical energy in the USA is X, with what factor will X need to be multiplied to replace all or most of the energy from motor fuel with electricity?
What then will be the cost to do this taking into account the enormous increase in number and capacity of generating stations (of whatever type) to provide the increased output, the significant extension of grid infrastructure to handle the load, and distribution infrastructure to serve the various charging points?
Is using current prices of electricity a fair comparison with ICE costs?
The British Government when settling its energy policy (such as it is) on wind power, assumed that although electricity prices would rise significantly, the price of oil would hurtle every skyward so that wind generated power would be very expensive, but still cheaper than fossil fuel generated electricity… and so people would not notice.
They were wrong. Fossil fuel prices have significantly fallen, yet electricity prices in the UK, and elsewhere in Europe outside nuclear France, climb steadily upward as more and more wind and solar are added to the mix.

with what factor will X need to be multiplied to replace all or most of the energy from motor fuel with electricity?
==========
A gal of gasoline is 33 kWh. About the same price at the gas station or the power company depending where you live.
A car averages 30 miles per day. About 2 gallons of gasoline a day. A house uses about 1 gal of gasoline equivalent a day.
So depending upon EV efficiency you are going to have to double or triple existing generating capacity. Given the time and capital expenditure involved to build the current grid this is going to be a problem unless there is spare capacity due to time of day factors.

John Endicott

“A car averages 30 miles per day. About 2 gallons of gasoline a day. A house uses about 1 gal of gasoline equivalent a day.”
if your car is using 2 gallons for only 30 miles (ie a rather poor 15 miles/gal), I’d suggest trading it in for a newer car. Most ICE cars made today easily double or triple that value.

Ed Acosta

Great article. It fails to capture the true cost of fueling an EV compared to a ICE. Perhaps in areas like Europe and maybe even California, where taxes make up the bulk of fuel costs, but for most of the world it costs more per mile to operate an EV and usually by a factor of two or more. Depreciation and battery costs not withstanding, the main benefit to the author is quiet motoring and that is not a benefit in my book. I enjoy rev matching snarls. That said, if BMW can pipe it in why can’t Tesla synch any motor soundtrack?

James Francisco

Ed. Check this out https://youtu.be/HXCXsrfzvtY just add a speaker on the outside of your car and you can warn others to get out of your way or you could just use your horn.

The article mentioned that rail locomotives use diesel-electric instead of diesel mechanical. I understand that the electric motors can be reversed into generators for braking, with the energy dumped through massive radiators on the top of the locomotive. This is a major advantage of the diesel-electric configuration.

commieBob

Dumping energy is not an advantage.
In 100% electric systems the energy can be returned to the grid or to a battery and that is an advantage.
You might ask, why not just run straight diesel with a mechanical drive, like trucks and cars? There are a number of reasons. link It depends on operating conditions. Ships use mechanical drive to the propellers. Draglines use electric drive. One big deal with trains is that you can hook together as many diesel-electric locomotives as you want. You can even have locomotives in the middle of the train. Electric drive is relatively easy to control and electric motors ‘play well’ with each other.

Yes regenerative braking is a major part of the improved efficiency of hybrids, also allows the IC engine to spend more time operating at its ‘sweet spot’.

michael

charging at home is fine if you have off road parking or better still a garage. I contend that the great majority of cars in the UK are parked on the road overnight. It sounds like an EV would suit me fine except I’m not sure if it can tow a 500kg trailer too, maybe some time in the future…

Re compression ratios: diesel compression ratios had decreased over time to achieve cleaner combustion, while gasoline has increased. The latest Mazda’s skyactiv engines have a ratio of 14:1 for both diesel and gasoline. Racing engines reach higher compression but they sacrifice the idle mode.
Not that compression ratios will learn us much about the future of engines though.

Gary Pearse

The elephant in the room is how we propose to generate the electric power. Eventually mainly from the atom or we will have become a stupid species. How ridiculous it would be if we made such superb economies and convenience in the car but at the same time disco-balled the earth with solar panels or tufted it with sea to sea wind mills? And this is environmentalists’ thinking in our post normal world.
Henry Ford made a few electric cars in the early 20th Century and felt it was the ultimate car. The battery was the problem for a century.

Ron

The ICE is not done yet. There has been notable advances in efficiency and I suspect more is on the way. Compression ratios have increased to 14:1. Nissan has introduced a variable compression ratio engine. Toyota claims a 41% overall efficiency for the latest 4 cylinder engine plus CVT. On top of that lithium batteries suck when the temp drops. The new Mazda power plants have supposedly reach the holy grail of combustion engineering: gasoline compression ignition.

dan no longer in CA

These guys claim to have an F-150 that gets 37 mpg. They seem credible to me.
http://achatespower.com/our-formula/opposed-piston/

HMG

Well, I’ve owned an e-Golf for three years in Iceland now, and I’m never buying anything that runs on fluids if I can help it. We also have a Honda Accord, and it literally feels like driving a tractor in comparison: unresponsive, powerless, and it frankly smells. I am currently waiting for an “affordable” SUV-ish EV that has great range (400-500 km), and comfortably fits five people and luggage. As Tesla doesn’t have a presence here, I’m waiting on one of the “usual” producers, so that we have local service. Hoping it’s no more than 2-3 more years? Then it’s goodbye ICE world! 🙂

Eco-fools seem to think batteries make electricity, they don’t batteries need to be charged and their charge/discharge efficiency is not 100%, the electricity needs to be generated and no method is 100% efficient. But regardless the ‘energy efficiency’ argument is a diversion, what matters is the cost; cost to the user and cost to the environment and eco-fools always seem to forget the environmental cost of lithium mining, the $ cost of connecting wind-mills to the grid, the CO2 cost of all that concrete the windmills sit in, the energy cost associated with PV manufacture. Anyone can pick and choose certain ‘facts’ to suit their particular world-view but when you look at the details the eco-fool solutions are never what they seem.
Honestly efficiency doesn’t matter if the fuel is cheap enough and the main by-products are water and plant-food.

Informative article. The 0.7 gal gasoline equivalent batter is the EV killer.
Fill the battery 1000 times which is about the Li lifetime and you get 700 gal gasoline equivalent. At $ 3 gal gasoline that is about $ 2100 gasoline but the battery costs $ 10000!!
So the battery costs much more that ALL the energy it can store in its lifetime. The battery is lîke a very heavy solid gold gas tank that holds almost no fuel and turns to lead once it is installed in the car.

Nigel S

Excellent image of the gold tank, reverse alchemy.

If you’re going to make the weight comparison you should also compare the weight of the engine and powertrains where the IC has offsetting weight penalties.

I’d have liked more information on the use or expensive materials including rare earths in the manufacture and the environmental costs of battery production and disposal.
If it eventually turns out that fossil fuels are not such a ‘bad’ resource as often stated then the electric vehicle option could be worse for the planet.

Several obsolete figures in the article – the author apparently is not well acquainted on the current EV scene. For example:
“The warranty for most EVs batteries today is that there shall be at least 70% capacity left after 8 years or 160 000 km (100 000 miles).” A recent survey found that Tesla vehicles with 160,000 miles still retained 90% of battery capacity. Battery lifespans are typically over 15 years.
“The battery pack is the most expensive item in an electric vehicle. The current cost is approximately 300 USD/KWh ” Last year Tesla claimed a price of $190 per kWhr and GM claimed $150 per kWhr. GM’s CEO also claimed prices will be significantly less than $100 per kWhr in the next few years.
As far as replacement of batteries – that is unlikely to happen – the batteries shoudoutlast the vehicle, but
if they do need replacement years down the road, the costs will be far less than they are today.
“Personally, I do not use more time on supercharger stations than I used to use on gasoline stations. The reason is that I charge at home, and do not use supercharger stations more than approximately 10 times per year. I may stay there 20 minutes each time”
There are many people out there who have no means of recharging their car at home – apartment and townhouse dwellers, condos, etc. and they have no choice but to always use public fast chargers. Tesla’s Supercharger networks ajoke – the stations are sparsely located – often 50 miles apart, and Tesla cannot expand the network , for lack of funds. so now Tesla is desperately trying to join CCS neetworks- in Euopre they have applied for inclusion in the IONITY network, set up by Euro automakers BMW, Mercedes, VW and Ford. They use the de Facto worldwide charging protocol, CCS (SAE Combo) which uses 350KW chargers, as opposed to the half as fast Tesla Superchargers (140KW). IONITY has contracted with three gas stations networks (including Shell) and is adding three more. The chargers will be located in gas stations, the obvious locations for fast public chargers. VW is installing 350KW CCS chargers in Walmart and Target stores – they can recharge to 80% inless than 15 minutes. Royal Dutch Shell bought a charger company. EvGo is installing CCS charger coast to coast. Porsche is installing 500 CCS chargers in the U.S. – 200 of them at Porsche dealerships. CCS public chargers will have to service the 120+ new electric models coming from the world’s automakers over the next several years. They will be located everywhere – mostly in gas stations, the most economically efficinet method.
Public charging costs a lot more than charging at home and Tesla recently increased the prices at their (soon-to-be-obsolete) Supercharger stations. Some charge 24 cents per kWhr, twice the national residential rate. The issue of energy efficiency is irelevant – the cost of fuel is what matters, and on the basis of residential electric costs, the EVs cost a lot less to fuel. But if public charging stations are used, the fuel cost differences between a gas powered vehicle and an EV are not great, and sometimes the EV costs more to fuel. Public charging rates vary rather widely, more so than gasoline prices.
As for operating costs, right now gas powered cars pay road taxes (in the price of gasoline – roughly 50 cents per galon as I recall) ) while electric cars generally do not. Any cost comparison will have to take account of the road taxes that electric cars will HAVE to pay in the near future. Annual odometer mileages will be used to determine how much taxes EV owners must pay.

gregfreemyer

You discuss diesel engines and petrol/gasoline engines being limited by auto-ignition issues.
A new generation of truck engines that burn LNG is just becoming commercially available:
http://www.westport.com/is/core-technologies/hpdi-2
https://www.dieselnet.com/news/2017/10volvo.php
Natural gas does not readily auto-ignite even at high compression ratios. With LNG fueled engines you can just keep dumping fuel in the cylinder as far as I know.
The 2018 generation of new LNG engines still use diesel like compression ratios, but there is no fundamental reason to do so as far as I know.
Regardless, it is my understanding these new engines will have much better low rpm torque because additional fuel can simply be injected without auto-ignition concerns.
And future designs have the ability to significantly further improve efficiency by venturing into higher compression designs.

dan no longer in CA

NOx is produced in the engine as a function of peak temperatures. An LNG or Hydrogen fuelled engine will produce the same amount of NOx as a petrol engine at the same compression ratio. Though higher compression ratios are higher efficiency, it’s the NOx production that limits the compression ratio.

Thanks for many insightful comments
Many have asked why I have not included the loss in electricity generation and electricity transmission. It is a reasonable question because if we base the electricity production on coal or gas, we get only a fraction of the efficiency in the first place.
However, to be fair you then also have to take into account the loss on the oil exploration, extraction at the wells, transport to refineries, loss in the oil refineries and finally transport to the gas station. There are quite huge losses in several of these steps.
It is possible to make a comparison that way, but it is not actually so meaningful because we seldom burn oil in power plants, oil is too expensive for that.
The fuel used for electricity generation cannot easily be used to directly power a car.
Therefore, I think it is relevant to compare the energy effiency from the gas station/ charging station.

eyesonu

That’s like saying —- “Look, over there, a squirrel! I don’t see the elephant, just maybe a shadow.”
Anyway, nice post on the good aspects of an EV that would suit some users. But there is still a herd of elephants in the room that you have missed. Sometimes they can be hard to see, or miss.

Bill Murphy

RE: Therefore, I think it is relevant to compare the energy effiency from the gas station/ charging station.
From the standpoint of the individual user/owner, that is certainly true. However, EVs are being promoted mostly as a “green” solution globally and being subsidized heavily for that reason. In that broader picture, things are less rosy and I contend that, if all the energy and cost required to deploy the EV on the massive scale that the ICE has already been deployed are considered, it is not nearly as “green” as most seem to think. If even 50% of current ICE vehicles were replaced with EVs the amount of additional base load generating capacity required to keep them on the road would be enormous and the additional transmission line capacity and transformers and other infrastructure required is mind boggling. As an example, a typical home has a 200 amp service, which is about 44kW. So to charge your car with 22kWh in 30 minutes would require the ENTIRE capacity of that home electrical service. The typical city service station probably has something like a 500 amp service and normally uses only a fraction of that load. It’s not uncommon to see 4 or 5 vehicles at a time lined up fueling. Even with many customers charging at home the shorter range and longer time spent charging will probably mean 4 or 5 EVs charging simultaneously frequently. That amounts to 220kW or 1000amps for a standard 220 Volt service. That means each station will have to completely rewire (not cheap) with a very high capacity service and more than a few of these stations in any area will require extensive rebuilding of lines and substations. That or only deploy 1 or 2 charge stations and require customers to wait 30 minutes for the previous client to finish. I lived through the gas lines in the US during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 when that happened a lot, and I do NOT recommend going back to it. Even if most charged at home overnight, in LA there are over 6 million Total Vehicles. If half were EVs charging at a slow 2–3 kW each for 10 hours that would be 3gW, or 30% more than the entire output of Hoover dam.

Thank you Bill, you are right that quick charging can be challenging, but most of the charging is slow charging in the nighttime when the power is cheap, and demand is low.
The total amount of extra power is not overwhelming.
Let us calculate it for the US:
Americans drive 13 000 km annually per capita. http://internationalcomparisons.org/environment/transportation.html
I we multiply with 320 million people and 0.2 kWh per km we get 832 TWh.
That is a 20% increase from the current production of 4000 TWh annually.
I do not think that is such a dramatic increase for converting all ICE to EV.
A bonus is that we would also save a lot in power to refineries and oil transport.
/Jan

Bill Murphy

Jan, 20% may not sound too difficult, but that 832TWh/year is greater than the output of all 99 commercial reactors in the US combined, or 3.7 times the total of all wind power generated in the USA or more than 3 times the total hydro power in the US. It’s also about a third more than the entire usage of Canada. It’s a major infrastructure investment by any standard.
http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/usa-nuclear-power.aspx

All numbers are relative. I not saying that it is not big, but we are also talking about a major change in the society, replacing all fuel car with electric.
It is possible to generate the power with 80 new nuclear power stations or some massive investments in renewables and pumped storage hydropower.
But it will create a surplus of oil in the US that will improve the US trade balance substantially
/Jan

Graeme#4

JKA: Think I can now see where your energy increase calculations are wrong. I believe that you need to look at the total energy consumed by today’s light (and heavy?) vehicles, and the need to replicate that energy for EVs. Ok, efficiency needs to be involved, but I still believe that your energy increase calcs are way off the mark.

light (and heavy?) vehicles

The calculation above is for light vehicles only
/jan

David A Smith

“Toque and rotational speed”
Should be Torque.

Andrew Kerber

The conversation is interesting, but the bottom line is this. I will buy an electric vehicle when I can expect the same performance out of an EV that I get out of a gasoline Vehicle (my Subaru Forester currently). That is 360 miles on a tank, with the air conditioner running full blast, in all wheel drive, with 4 people and luggage in the car. Until EV’s can do that, and recharge for another 360 miles or so in an hour, they are not going anywhere much.

dmacleo

one thing I notice, all advocates of EV never test in real world conditions in states like mine where for many months we can have well below zero F temps.

Nylo

The electricity consumption increases by about 30% in those conditions in those months. And that’s it.

MarkW

Battery capacity goes down a lot as well.

Leo Smith

Everything about EV is fantastic.
Apart from the battery that is
heavy for the range
slow to recharge
limited lifetime (well below the motor)
expensive.
As far as lifetime goes 500 charge cycles of say 200 miles each is probably the best you can expect – so 100,000 miles before you need serious cash spent on a new one.
And no, they wont be worth recycling into grid storage.
Massive experience with abusing lithium batteries to the limit in RC models shows that you can probably fully recharge – with cooling – in 5 minutes, or you can achieve phenomenal discharge rates – 1 minute or less for serious peak power..or you can achieve multi year lifetimes…BUT NOT ALL TOGETHER.
And they are STILL too heavy for what they hold in terms of storage.
EVS do will a niche market – the second urban commuters car or school run for the well heeled with off road parking or as shuttles to and from airports and railways stations.
But they cant replace long hails stuff yet by a huge margin and no battery technology event theoretically exists that will make them.
They are supported entirely by subsidy and tax breaks. In the UK fuel is around 12.5p /KWh of which 80% is tax. at a vehicle efficeint of half that of electric, that puts a fule car about 50%-100% more costly per mile..because of TAX.
Domestic electricity is already above that due mainly to renewable idiocy. If people stopped buying fuel then taxes would have to be collected elsewhere.
EVs have their place, but in the limit unless lithium air technology can be made to work, it will never be a total replacement for fuel power in all road transport, let alone ships and planes…

MarkW

“A frictionless electric engine has a theoretical efficiency of 100%.”
Right off the bat, the author has proven that he doesn’t have a clue about the subject.
He completely ignores resistance. He also is assuming that he only has to worry about the efficiency of the motor. He’s ignoring the losses in the battery charger, the losses in charging the battery, the losses in discharging the battery, the losses in regulating the power going into the motor, the losses in transmission of the power, and the inefficiencies in the power plant that generates the power.

Nylo

Wow, so do you mean that it is only 95%? That makes the 41% eficiency of the best ICE in the market clearly the winner… or maybe not.

MarkW

You get more than a 10% loss from the power distribution system alone. Then at best 90% efficiency in each of your charging and discharging cycles. You also assume that power generation is nearly 100% efficient.